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Protecting the President in the upcoming impeachment fight will not be for the weak of heart. If you're a Republican and you're not 100% in his corner, you're in a no-win situation. His defenders have to be all-in.

Now that Speaker Ryan has announced he's not running this November, the Republican Never-Trump pundit Ana Navarro thinks Speaker Ryan is now unleashed to do all sorts of wonderful, productive things. Someone on Twitter answers: "Get ready for Phantom Menace levels of disappointment."

Democrats made a whole lot of criticisms of the Republican tax bill that was passed in December with the slimmest of margins. And you know what? Every single criticism is turning out to be correct.
One of the biggest problems is that the Reagan and younger Bush tax cuts were passed during times when there was no apparent need to boost federal spending. That wasn't true of the Trump tax cut, we have an opioids crisis, infrastructure is rated as being a D+, Republicans want to re-do the ACA/Obamacare, etc.

Michael Cohen, the President's personal lawyer, has his home, office and hotel room raided. The President tweets: “Attorney–client privilege is dead!” Not quite. There's always been a "crime-fraud exception" in the law for quite some time. 

As to the Nixonian idea of "impoundment," where the president refuses to spend money that's been allocated, the Republican Party isn't at all interested. Which is good, because impoundment just extends a process that's already quite difficult enough.

Back during the late 90s, Ken Starr went way beyond his mandate. "Starr investigated a banking scandal, a suicide, and later a sex scandal," meaning he was jumping all over the place. Senator Rand Paul said that the Mueller investigation appeared to be going beyond its mandate. The host reminded him of Starr. Paul had to admit that, yeah, he didn't have any problem with Starr back then. 

It is an extremely rare event when I'm on the same page as Tucker Carlson, but I'm completely with him here! We need cooler heads and need to really examine the idea of attacking Syria before we take hasty, ill-considered action.

After taking a week off in response to Parkland student David Hogg calling for an advertiser boycott of her show, Laura Ingraham returns to find 20 advertisers have dropped her show.

How short is President Trump of people who are both loyal to him and who are capable of doing their assigned jobs? Unfortunately, that pool is pretty small

As a fringe right-wing political commentator, Ximena Barreto claimed that “African-Americans are way more racist than white people,” labeled Islam “a fucking cult” that has “no place” in the United States, pushed the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory, and attacked the “retarded” 2017 Women’s March. In December, she became a deputy communications director at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

With the situation in Syria, the US demonstrates a very serious problem of selective outrage. UN Ambassador Haley complains about civilians being shot in Syria while only about 500 kilometers away, Palestinians are being shot by Israelis. One is worthy of the US going it alone and taking action, the other isn't even mentioned. Oh, and Russia is an involved party. They've "got a dog in that fight." 

I get messages in my inbox: "On Wednesday, April 11th, pro-life students will walk out of their classes for 17 minutes of silence and prayer to honor the 10 preborn babies who will violently die during that time at the hands of Planned Parenthood abortionists." How did it turn out? “It’s still worth noting that the media went all in for the anti-gun walkout, talking about lives lost and free speech, while ignoring the #ProLifeWalkout..." 

Hmm. Very, very interesting. An ageing office building with a high vacancy rate somehow finds a "white knight" to refinance with so that the building isn't repossessed. Yeah, kind of interesting that the President's son-in-law owns the building.

So essentially, the US response to the demands of Gaza is "Sit down and shut up." The US has not presented anything even remotely constructive to try and resolve the conflict there, but has blocked an Arab call for an independent probe of the shootings that have resultd in Paelstinian deaths. Good quickie summary by Chris Hayes of MSNBC. 

President Trump tweeted:

If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!

Yeah, kind of a problem with that. The situation that Obama was faced with in Syria is essentially the same as what Trump is facing today. Russia is not only far closer to Syria than we are, but Moscow has been seeking a warm-water port for centuries. They have one with Assad in power. They're far more motivated to stick it out and escalate than the US is. Analysis.

Jeanine Pirro says the Republican Party must submit, dammit!!! What Our Glorious Leader demands must be delivered without hesitation!!!
BTW, she's lying about the DOJ refusing to submit documents. A Republican-run committee has requested about 1.2 million documents and the DOJ has to go over each one to make sure they're not releasing classified information.

Everything you could possibly want to know about President Trump's ecological and many other policies is contained right in this story of a fire in one of his apartment buildings. He chiseled out a few bucks by shortchanging safety. If people die? Eh, ah well. Sucks to be them!

"Syrian Regime kills dozens in Chem attack on Douma Holdout Enclave: Why?"
Appears that Army of Islam snipers were taking a heavy toll, so Bashar al-Assad hit them and civilian bystanders with chlorine and other chemicals.

A group of us got together in front of Philadelphia's Kimmel Center in reaction to the intention of the Philadelphia Orchestra to play in Israel. Also covers the highly unequal conflct at the Gaza-Israel border, where molotov coktails are being met by gunfire.  

"Puerto Rico will close 283 schools as island continues to struggle"
The remaining 828 schools will remain open, but nearly 40,000 of the island's 357,000 students have already departed.

Fourteen months into his term as President and after Kric Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, spent about a year trying to prove precisely this exact theory, that millions of people cast illegal ballots, the President says

“A lot of times it doesn’t matter because in many places, like California, the same person votes many times. You probably heard about that.

“They always like to say, ‘Oh, that’s a conspiracy theory.’ Not a conspiracy theory folks, millions and millions of people.”

Update: The Press Secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed that Voter Fraud panel requested a really large amount of data from the states "but a lot of the states didn’t want to cooperate." .New Jersey agreed to provide publicly available data, but not any confidential data. New Jersey just didn't have any confidence that the secret data would be used or secured properly.

"Homeland Security Wants to Build an Online 'Media Influence Database' to Track Journalists"
Can't see any innocent explanations for this, nor can I see any good coming out of it.

Fox News executives on Laura Ingraham

"Inside Fox, senior executives were exasperated, sources said. “You don’t attack a kid,” one told me. “It was an unforced error.” Not surprisingly, the network’s advertising department was in an uproar. “People are pulling their hair out.” 

Well, yeah. I have absolutely zero sympathy for these executives. They knew, or should have known, Ingraham was a bomb-thrower and that was a feature that was highly likely to come back and bite them in their asses.

Nixon's attempt to not spend money he didn't want to spend, called "impoundment," is being considered as a way to go back on the omnibus budget that the President recently signed.

Whole new complications open up for the President in Stormy Daniels case.

Ahh! More reasons for happiness! The Mueller investigation continues to go well!

On the one hand, it's good that Facebook is taking action against the Internet Research Agency (IRA), but the treatment of Palestinian pages still calls for regulations to see to it that all users are treated fairly on such a big and influential website.

The downside of censoring information from the Russians. Here's a report from RT about the Abby Martin's interview of Max Blumenthal on the Palestinians. This is about how that interview was censored in 28 countries by Youtube, thereby shutting off a voice that has no representation among US political parties.

"As some Republicans call for his ouster, Pruitt laments 'toxic' DC"
Yup, DC sure is "toxic." Yeah, when you get a sweetheart deal for super-duper cheap digs from a freakin' bloody lobbyist who has business with your agency, it sure is amazing how judgemental people can be!

I completely approve of the President's desire to get US troops out of Syria, but the pushback he's getting from his national security team continues to demonstrate the folly of Trump's slap-dash, seat-of-the-pants, spur-of-the-moment policymaking.

I take a look at anger and division in the US. Vice-President Pence might want to look to his own side of the political aisle rather than to just make vague generalizations.

Seems that John Bolton, the incoming National Security Adviser, has some 'splaining to do about his connection to Cambridge Analytica.

The questions about John Bolton's ethics and conflicts of interest are so bad, even White House lawyers are raising questions about them.

Jason Chaffetz wonders why the DOJ is slacking off on delivering the documents that the Republican-run Judiciary Committee has ordered them to produce. Erm yeah. Boston Globe says the Committee has requested 1.2 million documents, so yeah, it might take awhile.

*Sigh* No, Iran is not Nazi Germany. In fact, Saudi Arabia is far closer to being one than Iran is. I was especially interested by point 2, the status of Jewish people in Iran.

Hmm, theory here about "Suburban Strategy" as opposed to Nixon's "Southern Strategy."

About two months ago, the President started to try and get a deal on immigration. Democrats have offered at least six proposals that were worked out with their Republican counterparts. The President didn't like any of them. Now he's saying that Democrats are to blame for the lack of a deal.

Christian-Jewish Allies has now issued a new study guide “Why Palestine Matters, The Struggle To End Colonialism

So what has been the big legislative/economic initiative of the Trump Administration so far? The big tax break passed in December. How's the economy doing? Poorly. Stocks are beginning to slide. What does one do after a failed policy shows bad results? Why, double down, of course!

The wife of Andrew McCabe, who was fired just a day short of full retirement, has been accused of accepting campaign contributions for her own run for office in order to coordinate somehow with Hillary Clinton and to attack the current president, Trump. "those donations came before Andrew McCabe took over as deputy director of the FBI and before he would have had any oversight into the Clinton email investigation." 
She describe's the effect of being trashed verbally by the President.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin sure does get a lot of bad press. Now his wife is getting hate and discontent from DCs social circuit.

As states are taking action against oil companies anyway, a highly incriminating videotape shows up.

Heh! So it appears that the big effort by the right wing to pass a tax cut last December has had minimal PR impact and will most likely be forgotten by November.

Is economic trouble purely the fault of politicians? Nah, private enterprise bears a big share of the blame.

The angry blonde chick Tomi Lahren from Fox News tries to give a pep talk to her "fellow leaders" by saying "It's what we signed up for." Soledad O'Brien says: "Girl, please. You are leading nothing."

Good to see that concern about climate change is a bipartisan thing among young people. Clean energy and support for the environment are also strong.

Pope Francis agrees that the "ongoing conflict" on the Gaza-Israel border does not "spare the defenceless."

Israel’s defence minister has rejected calls for an inquiry into the killings by the military during a Palestinian demonstration that turned violent at the Gaza-Israel border.

The look and sound of state-run TV "news."

Senior executive defends the content of messages that all Sinclair News stations are required to run. But the problem is that all stations are required to run the same message with their own on-air people, as though they were delivering independent opinions. As Dan Rather put it : 

News anchors looking into camera and reading a script handed down by a corporate overlord, words meant to obscure the truth not elucidate it, isn't journalism. It's propaganda. It's Orwellian. A slippery slope to how despots wrest power, silence dissent, and oppress the masses.

So after watching a Fox & Friends piece featuring the President of the National Border Patrol Council, President Trump is now demanding still more unfair, one-sided DACA "fixes" that no Democrat can possibly accept. And then he wonders why Democrats won't "make a deal."

"Silence From NRA After Board Member Nugent Calls Parkland Teens 'Soulless'" So the NRA was pretty quiet about their board member Ted Nugent, whose last big musical hit was during the 70s. I guess they want to see how he was playing first. 
Update: Did a search on "Ted Nugent" on the 20th of April and he's pretty much dropped off the newsfeed. 

Oh, and the Chinese satellite that was set to crash, uh, somewhere on Earth? Landed safely in the ocean.

March                      back to top

National Review should really just stay clear of youth culture. They claim that, hey, the students at Hogwarts (Harry Potter's school) were armed, so real stuents should be, too! Um, not really. The wands they used were just enhanced wooden sticks that were specific to the students, but that just directed the power that was inherent within them. The wands weren't weapons per se.

Poll from NBC News that pretty much says it all. Democrats are comfortable with changes over past few decades, Independents can live with those changes, Republicans hate them and want to go back to "The Good Old Days."

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If left wingers can engage in boycotts, so too can right-wingers, something that a right-winger forgets. A pundit from the Washington Times denounces David Hogg of the Parkland students against gun violence for wanting to boycott Laura Ingraham. Oops! Seems she's called for boycotts herself many times over the past several years.

Grimly amusing headline here: "Analysis | Why a Laura Ingraham boycott will probably fail" because the Parkland students have already succeeded. Ingraham thought she was "punching down," hitting at an opponent who was smaller and weaker than she was, but found to her great surprise and distress that she was "punching up." She found that she had taken on an opponent who was bigger than she was and could hit harder.

"Census Advisory Panel Blasts Trump Admin Move To Add Citizenship Question"
Strikes me as a pretty stupid move, more likely to result in dishonesty and/or non-compliance with the Census than anything else. It would be entirely reasonable for non-citizens to wonder if their answers would get reported to ICE.

Right-wing blogger Erick Erickson makes a particularly stupid comment: "Hillary Clinton is the perfect loser for a selfish generation. In the past, the losing Presidential candidate disappeared from the stage. Not Clinton. It's all about her and you're sexist if you disagree." Twitter user responds:  “Bob Dole, 94 - still tweeting, btw Gore, 69 - global leader on climate Kerry, 74 - became Sec of State McCain, 81 - Senator, writing memoirs Romney, 71 - Running for Senate Biden, 75 - Biden 2020! Sanders, 76 - Bernard 2020! All have lost presidential runs. Fact Check: True.

Trouble on the border between Gaza and Israel. Few casualties already as Israelis are using live ammnition on unarmd Palestinian protesters. More details

So President Trump wants to pull US troops out of Syria? Good! We have no clear objectives there anyway and the thought that Bashar al-Assad (Who's backed by Russia and Iran) will just calmly step aside is obviously sheer fantasy. Will the new National Security Adviser John Bolton talk him into staying in Syria? I suspect he will. The theory he'd probably use is called the Flypaper Theory, a notion that many people used to justify our remaining in Iraq awhile ago.

“They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed,” Shulkin wrote in a New York Times Op-Ed. “As I prepare to leave government, I am struck by a recurring thought: It should not be this hard to serve your country.”

While the younger George Bush and Dick Cheney were ginning up the Iraq War, John Bolton decided that Cuba was building a biological weapons capability and had to be stopped immediately. An intelligence official said Bolton was overstating the intelligence. Bolton, furious at being contradicted, called the official a "mid-level munchkin.”
Seriously, this is the guy we now have nominated as National Security Adviser.

During the 2016 campaign, President Trump promised to get the "best people" to work for him. Did he lie? Nah, I think he just defines "best" as mindlessly loyal sycophants.

Hmm, guess it tells us something about American valus and priorities that in 2011, Snooki (Nicole Polizz) got $32K for a speech, and recently, Hillary Clinton got $25K from the same university for a speech.

It's a real problem that our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has so little understanding of voting issues. He appears to believe that independents constitute a meaningful third force in US politics. Actually, independent voters tend to lean strongly one way or the other, towards Republicans or Democrats. The remainder are statistically pretty meaningless.

President is amazed that the Korean DMZ (250 miles) is better guarded than the US-Mexican border (1,954 miles).

Laura Ingraham makws fun of David Hogg of the Parkland students. His reaction proves unexpectedly challenging for her and advertisers are bailing on her show..

After watching s few minutes of Greg Gutfeld's routine here, it's understandable why everyone on the left puts "comedian" in quotes when talking about him. There are two reasons not to use torture, 1. it's immoral and 2. it doesn't work. Gutfeld ignores 2 so that he can trash the people who complain about 1.

Cambrdge Analytica and other democracies across the globe.

President Trump is very upset over the omnibus spending bill that he felt pressured to sign right before last weekend. The reason? In the Navy, we called it "Lack of Attention to Detail." When you wait around for a problem to be talked about on Fox News, it's usually far too late to do anything about it.

Republican Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker appears to have a real problem with the whole idea of "you can't cancel an election just because your party will probably lose that election." He and the state legislature wanted to pass a bill that would cancel the special election, leaving constituents unrepresented for over a year. They finally backed down on that. Update: Walker finally calls special election. 

The NRA was very anxious to get all over the story of a "good guy with a gun" at Great Mills High School in Maryland. Oops! The "good guy" not only confronted the shooter after he was done, but the shooter shot himself before the "good guy" could take him down. The NRA naturally got very excitable before the facts were determined, and "attacked the 'lying MSM' for not devoting 'wall-to-wall coverage' to a story that didn’t 'fit their anti-gun, anti-freedom narrative.'”

Facebook again demonstrates that it needs federal regulation as it deletes a news account without warning or explanation. The news agency, based in Gaza, reaches 60% of their followers via Facebook.

Short, but truly horrifying thread about a prominent, well-known blog smearing one of the Parkland students, going "Oops!" and then trying to retract a story that a responsible journalistic enterprise would have carefully fact-checked before running.

Great garbage patch is between Hawaii and the mainland US and is twice the size of Texas. Real problem is that as plastic garbage breaks down in the ocean, it doesn't disintegrate into chemical components, it just breaks into smaller and smaller pieces with unknown but probably bad consequences for marine life.

Kind of amusing how this woman thinks the President is taking aggressive and effective action to the point where liberals are anxious to stop this awesome juggernaut.
Well, let's take a look at Trump's response to the opioid epidemic, he has described it as a national emergency, but Daily Kos describes nothing but "stagnant, flaccid efforts" on his part.  Vox describes the plan as very heavy on law enforcement and very weak on prescriptions and treatment. "But to the chagrin of many drug policy and public health experts, the plan largely focuses on 'tough on crime' efforts that have proven ineffective in the past." 
So no, on the policy front at least, I really don't see Trump as a threat of any kind that needs to be stopped. Is Trump a wannabe dictator? Sure, no question about it. I just don't see liberals being anxious to counter his policy initiatives.

Technically, it was called March for Our Lives, but there were so many people there, getting a march organized wasn't practical. 

Senator Marco Rubio is correct in saying that both John Bolton and Susan Rice were ambassadors to the UN, but wrong when he asserts that makes them equals. Rice successfully got the UN to initiate sanctions against Iran and North Korea but the UN didn't see her objective as being as narrow as just punishing those two countries. They could see that the Obama Administration wanted to achieve specific, limited objectives. But they could also see that Bolton just wanted war with Iran, period.

Awful lot of information following the Republicans on the House Intelligence Comittee closing down their investigation of the President. Seems Cambridge Analytica, a subsidiary of the defense and intelligence contractor SCL, appears to have been doing work for Russian interests. Brexit was apparently a dry run for the 2016 election.

A right-winger says: 

Look. I do not CARE who Donald Trump had consensual sex with ELEVEN years ago. Not sure why anyone cares...?.... Are liberals all of a sudden all virgins?
This has a solid NOTHING to do with his presidency.
We didn't elect him to be our PASTOR

First off, I certainly remember quite a bit of strutting about and posturing and tsk-tsking over Bill Clinton' sex life. Second, Donald Trump made a pretty weird comment to both Storm Daniels/Stephanie Clifford and to Karen McDougal that they both reminded him of his daughter Ivanka Trump.    

Is there really any possibility that there will ever be a separate Palestinian state next to Israel? It's not looking very likely. Some quotes: 

President Mahmoud Abbas himself has repeatedly stated that he cannot leave his Ramallah headquarters without Israeli approval.

...the real ruler of Palestine is not Mahmoud Abbas, it is rather the arrogant politician Avigdor Lieberman, the Israeli defence minister. 
This time, too, no one has asked the Palestinian people for their opinion and position on this project; neither the US administration nor the Israeli government of course, and not even the Palestinian Authority itself.

So former PA Senator Rick Santorum wants us to deal with the consequences of the gun problem as opposed to the causes of it. Erm, okay. He also suggests that there's some sort of conflict between the March For Our Lives being a political rally and between being about solutions. Not at all clear why it can't be both at the same time.

In response to Rick Santorum's suggestion that students learn CPR instead of protesting for gun safety measures (GSW stand for Gun Shot Wound).

@ananavarro @CarmenYulinCruz @RickSantorum : ever done CPR on someone with a GSW to his chest? I have. Ever done CPR on someone with a GSW to his brain? I have. Abdomen? I have. I'm an ER doc and guess what? They bleed out. We don't need CPR classes, we need #GunControl and we need #GunReformNow

Oh, wonderful! [/snark] Bolton wants to begin to "clean house" with “officials believed to have been disloyal to Trump." Looks like he's planning on full-fledged purge of the non-warmongers. As we've seen though, it's difficult to find competent people who are also willing to work in the Trump Administration.The exodus from the administration has been slowed only by the fact that no one wants to hire ex-Trump people.

The NRA spokesperson said: "I wish a hero like Blaine had been at Marjory Douglas High School last month." But that's the problem isn't it? We need better answers than "a hero like Blaine" because a Blaine is far too rarely there. We've been depending on "a good guy with a gun" for quite some time now and we just can't depend on such heroes. We need more reliable answers than that.

March for Our Lives.

After the Presdent signs the spending bill, Fox and Friends critczes it, so now the President doesn't like it. 

Sorry Governor Walker, but "Because we might lose the election to a Democrat" is not a sufficient reason to not hold an election!

A judge ruled Thursday that Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) must “promptly” hold special elections for two vacant seats in the state legislature — elections that he refused to call because he was afraid his party would lose.

"H.R. McMaster Out; John Bolton In As National Security Advisor
I recall reading about Bolton shortly after the younger George Bush Administration had left office. Bolton's appointment was one of the few actions that Bush admitted was a really bad idea on his part The piece I read was about how people working in the UN reacted whenever Bolton or one his people came calling and their reaction was essentially "OMG! What are these crazy guys up to now?!?!?! What new excuse have they now come up with for attacking Iran?" Because the only reason they ever visited anybody was to get people on board with attacking Iran. As The Intercept puts it:

Bolton has spent the better part of a decade calling for the United States to help overthrow the theocratic government in Tehran and hand power to a cult-like group of Iranian exiles with no real support inside the country.

Back during the presidential campaign in 2015, Donald Trump was a breath of fresh air, taking positions that defied Republican orthodoxy. One of his claims was that he opposed the Iraq War (And yes, in 2004, he made speeches against it, but that was long after the war had become an extended guerrilla war), but now, by hiring John Bolton, the last of Trump's defiance of Republican orthodoxies is gone. And no, he's never acknowledged any changes in any of his positions, let alone explained any of those changes.

Important scoop that brings investigation by Robert Mueller even closer to the Oval Office. Identity of  Guccifer 2.0 is revealed. 

2,200-page, $1.3 trillion bill passes with a 65-32 vote in the Senate. Plenty of both good and bad in the bill.

Good! In the omnibus budget bill, Congress  considered the agenda of Education Secretary DeVos and rejected it completely and wholesale. She has completely failed to convince the majority of the Senate that her approach is a good one. 

And, right on cue, the "budget hawks" speak up.  All of them (including Senator Rand Paul, who shoots us a disaaproving glare while holdinga really large pile of paper).voted for December's big, budget-busting tax cut.

"Tucker Carlson Brings Sniper On To Scold March For Our Lives Organizers”  
The real political problem with this discussion is that it doesn't seem to offer any sort of solution to gun violence. These two seem to be essentially suggesting we do nothing. That we just sit around twiddling our thumbs while mass shootings continue. This doesn't strike as a sustainable answer.

Democrats said that the December tax bill's economic gains would go largely into stock buybacks and not into economic growth. They were right. They said the bill would have all sorts of problems that would need fixing. They were right about that, too. They also said that Speaker Ryan and other GOP members would use the deficits created by the tax bill to justify cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Not quire sure Ryan's latest statement qualifies, but I'd bet Democrats were right about this too.

I'm 100% on PA Governor Wolf's side on a decision on gerrymandering. Republicans have threateed to impeach a state judge because he ruled against them in the case. Had the courts ruled the other way, Democrats would have accepted the result. The Republican response is a danger to the democracy of our country. A legal ruling is characterized as "misbehavior"?!?!?! What's that all about?

"Why The 'Liberal Tea Party' Doesn't Exist (And Why Some People Think It Does)
Good analysis that begins, properly, from the premise that the Republican and Democratic Parties are not symmetrical and are not mirror images of each other. There are lots and lots of purist right-wingers but purity tests on the left are actually pretty rare.

So, a while ago, the President was reported to be very confident in his own performance and competence. Rush Limbaugh of course feels that Trump's judgement is right on the mark. Of course, as this piece makes clear, Trump has absolutely no idea what he's doing. Trump's Solicitor General keeps track of what the government's legal position is, but when a right-wing talk show host disagreed with a legal ruling, President Trump put out a tweet that contradicted the policy that the Solicitor General had agreed to. 

Why did the football player Colin Kaepernick "take a knee" during the anthem at games? Well gee, it might just be because of incidents like this! Stephon Clark, a father of two children, was in his backyard with his parents upstairs in their room. He approached police with his arms outstretched and one hand holding a cell phone. Parents didn't hear any warnings, just shots.

The trial of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has dragged on because he's increasingly infuriating the judge. The latest problem is that Kobach was supposed to send out postcards to every Kansas voter that was denied the right to vote and had their voting rights restored. Judge to Kobach  “Why would I order something you told me you’d take care of?” Here's the twitter thread that summarizes what Kobach and the judge said to each other.

Shortly before the Austin, TX bombing suspect died, the White House made an odd statement: “There is no apparent nexus to terrorism at this time.” Erm, the bombings were acts of terrorism. There may have been no connection to foreign actors, but they were clearly acts of violence that were designed to cause political effects. A blogger clears it up for us: 

It is well known by now that “terrorism” is often used by American officials as a dog whistle to refer to acts of political violence carried out by Muslims or by minorities, and that typically white violence of a terroristic sort is characterized by other adjectives.

Facebook failed to protect user data from Cambridge Analytica. This is why government regulation happens. Private industry fails to do its job, consumers and/or citizens get burned, government has to step in.

"GOP expects Democrats' help in fixing the tax plan's errors"
Yeah, amazing how that works! After extensive hearing and markups and after accepting several Republican amendments to Obamacare/the ACA, there were a few minor problems with the law. Republicans refused to help make any of the modest fixes that Democrats asked for. Now, after cramming through a budget law without any hearings or markups or chances to make amendments, they're astonished that Democrats won't help make any changes to the budget bill.

Crazy notions on how to deal with opioids from the President that just happen, by sheer coincidence, to increase the power of police while failing to do much about the problem. From Joy Reid of MSNBC

My takeaway from Trump's "opioids plan" announcement so far... Brown people!! Build a wall!!! Democrats won't trade DACA for 1927 immigration policy! Sanctuary cities!!! Brown people!!!! Death penalty for drug dealers like Duterte who kills drug dealers!! I think that's about it.

Someone posted a meme on gun ownership and tyranny. Snopes is not at all impressed with any connection and demonstrates that tyranny comes before gun confiscation. First you lose your liberty, then you lose your guns, not the other way around. Yes, Nazi Germany confiscated guns from the Jews, but that was long after Jews lost political power. Non-Jewish citizens of Nazi Germany retained their guns all the way to the end of World War II. The Soviet Union wasn't able to confiscate guns from peasants until Collectivization took place. Gun confiscation was part of an overall quashing of the peasantry during that period.

Good! Supreme Court rejects Republican request to not use new district maps drawn by the courts in Pennsylvania.

"Trump Admin. Purging Civil Servants Suspected Of Disloyalty"
Yeah, I'm not going to wish the President "good luck with that," but keep in mind that the Trump Administration is an absolutely horrible place to work and that no one wants to hire people that used to work for him, so anyone who joins to replace those purged civil servants might as well realize they won't get any job offers after that.

"The Kobach Follies, Week 2: Kobach’s own 'expert' witnesses testify that their research doesn’t support Kobach’s claims"
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was not having a good day last Thursday! One of his researchers is asked about a "foreign-sounding" name and whether that person would be flagged as a likely fake voter. Great response to his answer from the ACLU!

Conservative presenter Chuck Woolery:
"While Democrats and Republicans are fighting for their parties, Trump is fighting for the Republic. I hope you can see this."
No Chuck, I agree with Soledad O'Brien. I don't see the President as fighting for anything grander or bigger than his own self-interest.

Concerning the closing of their investigation of the President, I wonderd whether the Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee ever made any attempt to reach out and to persade their Democratic colleagues that there was nothing more to investigate. This piece from TPM says:  

Conaway said later, characterizing Democrats’ protests about the committee ending its probe: “The collusion issue, we found no evidence of it. The Democrats think they have. They’ve not shared that with us, if they have. I’ve shared all of my evidence we’ve got with them, but if they’ve got evidence of collusion, they haven’t shared it with us.”

Hmm, sounds like the Republican majority on the committee simply sent documents to the Democratic minority. It doesn't sound as though there were any face-to-face conversations on the evidence at all.

Cambridge Analytica, a company owned by hedge fund billionaire and prominent Republican contributor Robert Mercer, harvested information from 50 million Facebook users and used it to manipulate electoral results. 
Very interesting! Was the Thom Tillis campaign of 2014 a dry run for Trump's campaign of 2016?

People have  problem with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. Difficult to see why, unless the problem is just plain sexism.
I think I was most impressed by Pelosi when John Boehner took over from her as Speaker. Boehner was constantly being taken by surprise by his own caucus. Pelosi had always known exactly where her caucus stood on every issue. I realized "Wow! She really was a highly competent and effective leader, unlike the  idiot who's in charge now!" 

Did the President cause McCabe to get fired for the reasons that were cited? As usual, the President steps all over his own messaging and confirms what the rest of us thought all along.
President Trump considers it tremendously important that McCabes wife was given a lot of money. But she got that money in order to run for a state office. Any problems with spouses of prominent people running for office? Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is married to the Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao. No one on either side of the aisle has ever had a problem with that. So it's hard to see how McCabe's wife is in any way relevant here.
Also, "By linking Mueller’s investigation with McCabe, [John] Dowd confirmed a key claim in McCabe’s response to his termination — that Sessions’ move against him is really all about discrediting the Mueller investigation."

Unfortunately for anti-choicers, there is indeed a link between providing abortions and providing good pregnancy services. The problem is that those who don't provide abortions also don't provide good pregnancy services. Those who provide good services also provide abortions.

So, 100 days later, how are people dealing with President Trump's decision to move the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem? Not well. Main problem appears to be that as the Trump Administration did nothing to reach the decision via any sort of consultative process, they've also done nothing to sell the decision afterwards.

Piece makes the very good point about liberal vs conservative views on the CIA. Liberals, including even the 60s radical Abbie Hoffman, have never had a problem with the intelligence-gathering arm of that agency. We didn't have any problem defending CIA covert operative Valerie Plame Wilson from Vice President Dick Cheney's maligning of her because we were familiar with her intelligence-gathering and it was never clear that she did much in the way of any covert operations. Conservatives, on the other hand, love covert operations and never had any problem with things like torturing people at black sites.

Good! The House Republican majority on the Intelligence Committee closed their investigation of Russia. They botched their doing so by not agreeing whether or not Russia wanted Trump to win the election. That made the rollout confused and unfocused. The Democratic dissent is overshadowing their dismissal of the case.

"Attorney General Sessions Has Fired Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe" Note that McCabe was on leave. He was using up his leave days and so cleaned out his desk and departed from the FBI early. He was fired less than 48 hours before he would have been eligible for a full pension. McCabe denies the accusation that he was dishonest.

Represntative Liz Cheney asks two questions, 1. Did torture save lives during the time her dad was Vice President? 2. The amount of pain inflicted by SERE is similar to that produced by torture, but does that mean SERE is relevant?
1. No one has ever shown that torture during the younger George Bush Administration produced any positive results whatsoever.
2.Torture applied by someone you know as a friend is worlds apart from torture applied by someone who hates you and does not feel legally restrained. The question essentially compares a candle to a forest fire.

During the late 90s, the GOP was feeling very powerful and righteous over Bill Clinton's sex scandals, so they really pushed hard to see to it that the scandals would have maximum legal effect. Oops! Now that the shoe is on the other foot, their own past behavior is biting them in the butt. They're sobbing all sorts of useless crocodile tears now, because the precedents they're now bemoaning have already been set in stone as of 20 years ago. Will the House pull anything sneaky? Nothing can be ruled out.

Very cool! "Oil giant begins transition to renewables, scrubs ‘oil’ from its name."

NRA spokesperson Dana Loesch makes a number of good points about the specific case of the Parkland school shooting. Why doesn't anybody seem to care? Because school shootings are happening all the time in the US and they're not happening elsewhere. Parkland is not outrageous because of any unique circumstances, but because it's far too common.

*Sigh* Poor Rush Limbaugh is confused. He doesn't understand how anybody knows that the Big Bang happened in the way that the physicist Stephn Hawking says it did because no one was there to see it. (Facepalm) Okay, let's see if we can make this clear. In the TV show "Crossing Jordan" (2001-2007), Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh and Detective Woody Hoyt would attempt to reconstruct a crime. Naturally, they weren't there to see it occur, but they would take all of the evidence into account and walk it through and attempt to arrive at a reasonable conclusion as to just what happened. That's why the conclusion isn't called a "fact," but is instead a "theory." Some theories are more solid than others because they fit the known facts better than others do.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley has taken a good position on the poisoning of a released spy who was living in England (He was caught spying for the West and served several years in prison). It is worrying and concerning that the President has appeared to be waffling and soft-pedaling the accusation.

Yes, the daughter of the former VP Dick Cheney is the Representative for Wyoming (She crashed and burned when running for Senator, but recovered enough to win the Representative seat) and she's strongly defending her dad's record of torture during the younger George Bush Administration. As Senator Rand Paul has taken the opposite position, we now have a torture debate within the Republican Party.

The Republican Party as a whole has settled on the narrative that Conor Lamb, who just squeaked out a victory in Western PA, won because he reflected President Trump's positions. Ehh, not quite

Our election night poll in PA-18 found that health care was a defining issue in the race. 52% said it was either the most important issue or very important in their vote, and Conor Lamb won those voters 62-38.

Kids all over America conduct a National School Walkout day. CNN said 
“Students at a Los Angeles school held a die-in spelling #ENOUGH with their bodies as a gong sounded 17 times, one for each student killed in the Parkland, Florida school shooting."

So how qualified is Larry Kudlow to be President Trump's chief economic advisor? Hoo boy! Keynesian economists noted the housing bubble in 2002 (It had been building for a few years by then), kept on issuing warnings until it burst in December 2007. Kudlow thought everything was fine in 2005 and though September 2008 was a good time to get back into buying stocks. We lost 452k jobs that month, 474k in October, but 765k in November and 697k in December. When Obama took over in January 2009, we lost 795k. 
Kudlow realy, really favors tax cuts as the best tonic for econmic growth. David Stockman, Reagan's first Budget Director, is unimpressed with ability of tax cuts to help the economy.

"Meet the Alabama sheriff who kept hundreds of thousands in inmate food funds for personal use"
Hmm, one would think that if sheriffs were allowed to keep money that was intended for the feeding of prison inmates but was "excess" or not used, that would encourage sheriffs to skimp on inmate food in order to provide more money for themselves. Sure enough "Many inmates report that the food they are provided is inadequate in quantity or nutritional value, spoiled, or contaminated, such as with insect or rodent droppings, or foreign objects." Funny how this guy thought the law was written to permit him to skim off money.
Update: Yep, state law is apparently on the side of the sheriff, but the Feds are quite interested in the case and call it a "conflict of interest."

The Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, gets fired. Will we miss him? Nah, he brought nothing worthwhile to the job. The WaPo subtitle is "A political eulogy for the most incompetent Secretary of State in modern history."
How weak and ineffective was Tillerson? A piece from early February shows that of the State Department's top 10 jobs, eight of them were empty.

The new Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, is very close to the Koch brothers and really, really hates the Iran deal.

Gina Haspel is the President's choice for the new CIA Deputy Director. She oversaw the torture of prisoners and the destruction of evidence of human rights abuses. Obama didn't create the problem, but he certainly didn't "clean out the barn," either. The past comes back to bite the US in the butt.

Physicist Stephen Hawking has passed away.

Congressional District PA-18 was won by Trump in the 2016 election by 20 points. That seat is now held by a Democrat!!!

"CNN Anchor Stunned After Trump's Racist Remarks At Mexico-California Border" CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin gives a great reaction shot here. What interests me about this clip is how narrow the President's vision is. He keeps talking about how terrible California is, but his one and only point of reference, the only factor he considers, is state taxes. As we can see here, California's economy is doing pretty great. No, high taxes do not automatically equal a poorly-run state.

From a tweet by the Minority Leader on the House Intelligence Committee: "BREAKING: GOP just shut down House Intel investigation, leaving questions unanswered, leads unexplored, countless witnesses uncalled, subpoenas unissued."
I find the conclusions reached by the Republican majority on the committee to be something that Republicans should have been able to convince their Democratic colleagues of. Don't see much evidence they made any real attempt to do so. The TV show Fox & Friends also didn't include any such evidence. Link to Democratic rebuttal memo.

Hey, it's Women's History Month! So how has the Trump Administration honored women? *Sigh* No, The First Lady, the Second Lady (Vice-President's wife) and the First Daughter (Ivanka Trump) really don't constitute appointing women to high positions.

Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has very deservedly taken lots and lots of heat for this truly terrible interview. She says: "I'm more misunderstood than anything." Nope. I don't agree. Fundamentally, the idea that she champions is to put schools in competition with each other. I think that's fundamentally misguided and fails to acknowledge that schools are not capitalist institutions that respond well to price changes and efficiency improvements. DeVos is asked about white kids and black kids being treated differently. That, say, both groups create a disruption. The white kids would see the principal, the cops would get called on the black kids.
Betsy DeVos: "Arguably, all of these issues or all of this issue comes down to individual kids. And--"
Lesley Stahl: "Well, no. That-- it's not."
Lesley Stahl: "Have you seen the really bad schools? Maybe try to figure out what they're doing?"
Betsy DeVos: "I have not-- I have not-- I have not intentionally visited schools that are underperforming."
Which to me, essentially reveals that here's someone who already had her mind made up when she started her job and has no interest in getting any other perspective on the problem.

President Trump gives a very, very bad speech. So bad, in fact, that Chris Cillizza is flabbergasted at how bad it is. Also, link to right-wing blog that sums up Soledad O'Brien's reaction to Cillizza comparing reality TV to the actual White House. She's not impressed.

Trump Administration decides that press coverage of nuclear energy has been too negative. “A lot of the challenges that we have have been blown out of proportion in the media.” Or, perhaps, the problems have not been "blown out of proportion" at all and perhaps the industry needs to get its act together and carry out reforms.

Very happy to see that Democrats are keeping up the pressure on Carl Icahn's insider trading. "Icahn sold more than $30 million in steel-related stock, crane manufacturer Montiwoc, several days before Trump’s announcement last week on tariffs, after which Montiwoc’s stock plummeted."

So, Hans von Spakovsky, a noted vote suppressor, "said putting Democrats or mainstream Republicans on Trump’s voter fraud commission would lead to its 'abject failure.'” He denied that, but someone then found the email where he said just that. Oops!

"John Kelly reportedly feared Pruitt’s climate debate would be a huge embarrassment" So the, quote "grown-up in the room" gives the American people the worst of both worlds. We get an EPA Administrator who continues to pursue policies that will increase global warming but we don't get a debate that would demonstrate the moral and scientific bankruptcy of such policies. Gee, thanks! %$#@%$!!!

A story that doesn't do Newsweek any favors at all. The Clinton Foundation did not benefit the Clintons personally. Giving money to the Foundation was a very indirect way to curry favor with them and it's not clear that anyone benefited by doing so. 
"The so-called Uranium One deal in 2010 handed Russia control of 20 percent of the U.S.’s uranium supply."
It's not at all clear what "control" of the US’s uranium supply meant as no uranium was removed from the US.
"Hillary Clinton served on the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), which unanimously approved the partial sale..."
Right, so as Clinton was just one of the committee members and all of the members approved, what is the significance of the Clinton Foundation? Why is the Clinton Foundation even vaguely relevant to the case?

Not only is it a really bad idea to go to war in Syria, period, full stop. But going to war with the president we have and with the public not having any real knowledge of what's going on there and Republicans as represented by Senator Graham being utterly clueless as to how to win. Full withdrawal of all American troops from Syria, NOW!!!

In discussing what it's like to work for President Trump, this is a rather alarming statement: "By day's end, dazed White House officials were discussing whether Mr. Trump would invite Mr. Kim to come to the United States."
This tells us that the President's staff is the last to know about what the President is thinking about any given issue.

It's becoming clear that White House aides are being blindsided by the boss, who comes up with ideas like visiting Kim Jong Un of North Korea and announcing it without having given anyone the chance to weigh in. " one wants to work in an environment in which they have no idea what their colleagues and superiors may do next."

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos puts out a picture of a classroom that I find quite familiar and that she describes as typical. I agree that the picture she presents does indeed look typical to me, because like her, I'm an older person who went to school back during the 60s and 70s. Not surprisingly, schools have advanced a bit since then. Problem is, DeVos wants to "reform" schools, but is clearly out of date on how schools actually function today.

Hmm. Nope. Just can't do it. Can't get myself to feel the slightest sympathy for "Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli here as he's sentenced to seven years

In a really, really important voting-rights case, the team led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has proven to be amateurish and completely uninformed as to basic legal procedures. Recall please too, that this person also led a committee for the President to examine allegations of millions of illegal votes. The committee discovered nothing and is now disbanded.

A key member of the House Intelligence Committee, who is allegedly, supposedly, in theory, leading the investigation as to Russian influence on the 2016 election, said that he was completely unaware of who a significant figure in the case was. Sounds to me as though the Committee has been spinning its wheels to little real-world effect.

Whoa! Pretty serious shocker! Kim Jong Un has agreed to meet our President in just a few months! Is that good news for him? Very much so as he can then appear to be equal to the US leader. Good new for Trump? Heck yeah, anything that gets the news off of Mueller and his probe is all good news.

Update: White House starting to backtrack.

Update 2: "Trump Says Media Coverage Of Planned Talks With Kim Jong Un Is 'FAKE'"
As we've seen before, President Trump's definition of "fake news" is simply that which he finds inconvenient or embarrassing or no longer useful to him. He's now completely walked back the idea of meeting Kim Jong Un.

John Bolton calls Tucker Carlson simpleminded, but frankly, I think Bolton's aswers are quite simplistic. Yes, I thnk the aftermath of the Iraq invasion of 2003 was inevitable. because yes, the US had the forces needed to defeat Saddam Hussein's army, but  the US didn't commit anywhere near enough troops to win the peace. The younger George Bush simply didn't have any way to counteract the civil war taking place between Sunnis and Shiites. Obama and Clinton were correct in 2008, the "Surge" was far fron the only factor that got Iraq to quiet down temporarily. It was not any error of Obama's that caused ISIS to explode in 2014.

"There is no audience for Boris Epshteyn's pro-Trump propaganda, so Sinclair forces it on people" This is what state-run propaganda TV looks like. Sinclair owns 190 local TV stations across the country. 

How relevants is Fox News? This poor woman tries really, really hard to talk about relevant, today, current news, but the Fox News guys are stuck in the past and talking about years-old stuff. It was meaningful and relevant to discuss any possible connection between Bill Ayers, Reverend Wright and any of President Obama's planned policies back in 2008, when Obama was running for office. No one has drawn any connection whatsoever between these two and anything Obama ever did after becoming president. The news on the connection of Obama and Louis Farrakhan is new, but again, the meaning and relevance of the connection is far from clear. 

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos "parachutes in" to the Parkland school, pretty much entirely to have her photo taken with the school as a backdrop. Didn't talk with anyone, didn't send any people in advance to work out any sort of agenda for discussion, just showed up unannounced. The students were less than impressed.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell indicates he's perfectly comfortable with not having done much of anything to stop Russian interference in the 2016 election. Doesn't appear the this November's mid-terms are much of a concern to him, either.

So how's the reaction to the tax cut that Republicans passed back in December? Meh. Voters are underwhelmed.

Fellow keeps saying "I'm a lifelong Democrat, but ..." Can we trust him on his identification with the Democratic Party? Nah.
Reminds me of a piece in Ms. Magazine that I read many years back where they talked about women who said "I'm a feminist, but..." Turned out that when you looked at their explanations for how they were once a feminist, it was never that they actually did anything to work for feminist causes, but that they just sorta, kinda, in a way, felt like they were feminists. The fellow here doesn't appear to have ever had any actual liberal viewpoints on any subject.

President claims that “Everybody wants to work in the White House.”  Yeah, this is what we call "wishful thinking." NPR said back in January that turnover or "churn" in Trump's White House during his first year was 34%. The next highest was Reagan's at 17%, followed by Clinton's at 11%, after which other recent presidents were in the single digits. I once worked in an office with high turnover. High turnover is a sign of a poorly-run office.

Michelle Obama meets an adorable little fan of hers.

The University of California in Berkeley has a clause in the contracts of all speakers, it's a “no boycott of Israel” clause that plainly violates free speech rules.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has made a great fuss and bother over how important free speech is. Problem: he's only taken up cases that involve right-wing causes. Question is then, does Sessions support free speech in general or does he support it only when he's supporting right-wing causes?

President Trump has complained several times that Obama's Attorney General, Eric Holder, protected Obama from all legal jeopardy, so AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III should do the same. Holder's response: "The difference between me and Jeff Sessions  is that I had a president I did not have to protect.”

So what is the Trump Administration doing to safeguard the upcoming mid-term elections? White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders puts out an extremely short, thin and unimpressive list. But the President wants credit for taking strong action to counter Russian efforts anyway.

See, here's a problem with electoral mandates. President Trump Did. Not. Run. on a cheaper and lousier and less effective health care plan for everyone. He ran on a better plan that would cover more people. The poll here was taken by Trump's own pollster and it shows that nobody has forgotten his campaign promise of a better plan and nobody is willing to settle for the plan he introduced a few months after taking office.

The younger George Bush Administration tried to promote "abstinence only" programs. It found that these programs were moderately useful for getting young people to delay sexual activity, but is completely useless for people who have already had sex. The Department of Health and Human Services recently released guidelines on reproductive health and how these guidelines should apply to Title X program. This is pretty much just a cover for attacking Planned Parenthood. 

Yes, "fake news" is a serious problem, but when authoritarians use it as a cover for anti-free speech policies, that's even more of a problem. We've seen with our own president in the way that he uses the term that it just refers to news he doesn't like or finds inconvenient.

Rachel Campos-Duffy of Fox News asks a truly moronic question at the 3:00 minute mark, suggesting that Ivanka Trump, a mother of three and who's run a fashion company, compares to Chelsea Clinton during her father's scandals, when Chelsea was still in high school. And yes, that idiotic comparison prevents us from hearing if Katrina Pierson can substantiate her wild charges of journalists calling for Barron Trump's death (An accusation I find utterly unbelievable).

Update: Campos-Duffy continues to defend Barron Trump. In this case, she mentions talk-show host Jimmy Kimmel's line: “[The Easter Egg Roll] was a fun day for the president. He got to eat chocolate. He even met a nice kid named Barron who he really liked.” Is this an insult of Barron? You have to really, really, seriously stretch the definition of "insulting" to arrive at such a conclusion.

Looks like the NRA has had its day and has pretty much shot its bolt now.

"The left 'attacks people trying to get to the truth,'" says Devin Nunes. Erm, okay, what great "truth" was being uncovered by Nunes and his memo that was released a few weeks ago? One of the big claims Nunes made in his memo concerned the FISA application to look into Carter Page. Nunes said that the FBI hid the fact of the dossier's partisan origins. No, the FBI did no such thing. 

China's President Xi makes himself dictator for life. Instead of condemning Xi, President Trump waxes enthusiastic about that.

Kentucky refuses to outlaw child marriage? Nah, I totally identify with the children here. I can't imagine being given away in marriage to some old woman when I'm not fully mature yet. Can't imagine doing that to some young girl, either.

President Obama played golf a little over 300 times in eight years, or about three out of every 30 days. President Trump marks 100th day on golf course and his presidency is only 408 days old! 

The two right-wingers here try really hard to convince us that the President isn't a racist. Problem is, they never define racism. They seem to be suggesting that if you're not wearing a hood and burning crosses on the lawns of black people, you're okay. So their statements of how they personally know Trump and of how the economy is doing well are completely beside the point.

NRA Spokesperson Dana Loesch gets comforted by Fox & Friends. Yep. It's just so awful that liberals won't sit down and discuss a bunch of stupid and unworkable ideas in a calm and civilized manner!

House Intelligence Committee Chairman says (words to the effect of): "Yeah, yeah, I leaked a senator's confidential text messages for blatantly political reasons, but hey, the real problem here is that the press reported my doing so." 

The White House is a tough, strenuous place to work under any president. It's really bad under this one and it's clear to people there that no one is clamoring for former employees of this particular White House.

"Orrin Hatch: Obamacare Supporters Are The 'Stupidest, Dumbass' People He's Ever Seen” Of course, the Senator doesn't go into any detail. I'd be curious to know, with tens of millions of people benefiting from it, just why the ACA/Obamacare was such a terrible bill. Problem is, the President didn't get elected by promising to end the ACA, but by promising to produce something even better.

I have great sympathy for the "unnamed Republican staffer [who] told the Weekly Standard" that “This is why you don’t do high-stakes, hot-button negotiation on live TV with someone who doesn’t know or care about details.”
Liberals should not count on the President sustaining anything he said at this meeting.

Regular consumers are starting to notice that the big, dramatic tax bill was passed in December, but they haven't been getting any discernible benefits from it.

Walmart joins Dick's Sporting Goods in restricting firearms sales. Yeah, in political votes, old people are essential. But as far as being consumers go, not so much. That's why we're seeing what someone yesterday called a "liberal corporatocracy."

Members of the Russian punk protest band "Pussy Riot" were detailed for a bit, but they've been returned.

February                      back to top

Da-yum! By now resigning, Hope Hicks will have been the sixth Communications Director! And the Trump Administration is only 13 months old! As a blogger said, the Communications Director in the Trump Administration is getting to be like the drummer in Spinal Tap (1984 movie). Further reactions

"Hope Hicks admits to telling 'white lies' to help Donald Trump” Not that Hicks is the slightest bit qualified to distingish between "white," harmless little lies and consequential, serious ones. Piece is an examination of how utterly and completely useless the House's "investigation" of the Trump Administration is. This was a pretty cool quote:

Hicks’s definition of her position as one that called on her to regularly lie would likely baffle Jen Psaki. If you don’t know Jen Psaki, she was communications director for the last two years of the Obama administration, during which time she made zero headlines by not telling lies of any shade. In fact the only controversy of her time in the White House was … nope, there was no controversy.

Ah! Good news! Jared Kushner has lost his security clearance after all! It was looking for a while as though White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was just a paper tiger who couldn't enforce his policies.

Amid protests that there's "no collusion" (a legally fuzzy and imprecise term) between himself and Russia, the President has not authorized the NSA to protect America's voting system from foreign interference.

"Fox News host Howard Kurtz: Trump deserves praise for driving the debate about guns” Ha, ha, ha! No, at best, Trump played a purely reactive role.
Here's one of the students, Emma GonzŠlez, who reacts to the President's suggestion that teachers be armed by saying that's a really bad idea. There are many better prioritis to spend money on. 

Generally, blacks armed themselves during the 12-year Reconstruction period, and "This did serve as some moderate protection while Reconstruction lasted. But when no-holds-barred confrontation broke out, blacks almost always lost horribly against wealthier and hence better-armed whites.” So no, personal firearms will not save us from tyranny.

Trump Organization claims to have donated the profits made in dealings with foreign governments, but won't realease any substantiating details

The GOP reveals that it has absolutely zero interest in investigating the President.

So how's the Trump Administration's response to the opioid problem going? Well, it seems to consist, first, last and only, of executing drug dealers. Kellyanne Conway claims that the President means to only execute high-volume dealers, but no one agrees that he's drawn that distinction.

President confronted by critical governor. President was obviously very unhappy with being confronted.

Trump’s quiet campaign to bring back preexisting conditions” Not that the Trump Administration has the slightest mandate for reversing anything concerning the ACA/Obamacare. Donald Trump didn't promise to do any such thing on the campaign trail. In fact, he promised to improve the ACA, He never, at any point, said he was going to go backwards on a program that Americans endorsed for two elections in a row. 

Just yesterday, CNN's Brian Stelter said President Trump was talking about "an example of Trump's fantasyland." 
Today, we have Trump (Who got deferments from the draft for Vietnam) saying he'd rush into a hail of bullets to save the kids of Parkland.

Like her brother Don Jr., Ivanka seriously needs a good PR person to discuss her public statements with prior to making them (Jr. really needs to run all of his social media posts through a good PR person). It's really hard to take her seriously as a "White House Senior Adviser" when she refuses to make a serious statement and instead cries (words to the effect of) "Waaah! You're being mean to my daddy!" CNN points out that this is why nepotism laws exist

While President Trump appears to be really anxious to start up a trade war with Iran, Europe has decided to pursue a policy that isolates the US in favor of increased trade with Iran.

Democrats finally get their memo that refutes the Nunes memo cleared. The President is very highly critical of the memo, but doesn't provide any substantiating details. Considering also that he was talking on the Jeanine Pirro show on Fox News, he has no excuse. A friendlier audience is hard to imagine.So it's impossible to take any of his criticisms the slightest bit seriously. President is asked if he objects to any single, specfic thing in the Democratic memo. He can't come up with anything

Even when Jon Stewart was giving Michael Steele all kinds of grief on the Daily Show, I've always liked Steele and respected him. Matt Schlapp tries desperately to cover for the racist comment that was made about Steele but Steele just ain't havin' it!

Hmm, the government of Bashar al-Assad versus al Qaeda-dominated guerrillas. Yeah, I support the civilians who are caught in the crossfire.

Yes, Eric Trump is very annoyed with Americans who oppose his father. Never mind the fact that his dad is the most divisive president this country has ever had, that he has never once made a serious attempt to bridge differences or to even understand the other side's point of view. Nah, those who oppose President Trump are all just a bunch of ignorant peasants and commoners who don't have any manners.

Republican strategist Sarah Drumpf is asked about guns. She says she and others of her side of the issue are more concerned about law enforcement people freezing and not charging into certain-death situations. But we've known about this sort of thing happening for well over a century. The difference in combat is that you have a large crowd of fellow soldiers that will push you to charge the enemy anyway.

So the First Lady adopted cyber-bullying as her personal cause. The Parkland teens are undergoing serious cyber-bullying. How does the FLOTUS react? Complete radio silence, of course.

President Trump makes a number of statements on guns. Let's look at one of them: ‚€œI will be strongly pushing Comprehensive Background Checks.‚€� Okay, first off, he has acted to weaken, not strengthen, background checks. Second, the problem with bakcground checks is not that they aren't comprehensive, it's that they don't cover nearly enough gun sales. So yeah, the statements are pretty unimpressive.  

Also, here's an interesting finding.
‚€œThe FBI conducted a study of 163 instances of mass shootings and found that only one was stopped by an armed individual versus 21 that were stopped by unarmed people.‚€�

Dana Loesch seriously wears out her welcome on CNN.

Yes, there is quite a bit of anger and division in America right now, but right-wingers are certainly part of the problem.

Interesting stats. If the suspect isn't firing back, the NYPD hit rate is 30% If he is firing back (highly likely) the hit rate drops to 18%.

If we do a proper cost-benefit calculation, I just don't see why civilians need to have anything as lethal as an AR-15 or why anyone needs more than 10 bullets in a magazine. Senator Rubio was asked about magazines that hold 30 to 50 bullets and he just couldn't come up with any justification that was more urgent or necessary than the harm it caused for mass shooters to have them. People want pistols for self-defense or rifles for hunting, fine. Neither one requires more than 10 bullets, neither requires the super-lethality of assault weapons.

The President suggested teachers should be armed. There are a whole host of reasons that's a terrible idea.

Srudents across the country conduct walkout to protest the excessove availability of guns.

Yikes! Sea ice reaches lowest level in 12,000 years. 

"Republican congresswoman blames mass shootings on Democrats"
I believe people have asked the question of how likely are mass shooters to be either Republicans or Democrats and the answer has been that they tend to be apolitical, giving their allegiance to neither party. As this piece points out, the shooter in Parkland was very definitely a strong supporter of President Trump.

Saudi Arabia‚€™s Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman appears to have some pretty wild diplomatic ideas that appear to be much more fantasy than reality.

Seems to be a battle between the kids of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School and the right wing unlimited-guns supporters.
Included: Dinesh D'Souza plumbs new moral depths.

The Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas wants to fire the United States as the mediator between Palestinians and Israel. President Trump apparently thought recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel would speed up the peace process. But the move was made without consulting or sounding out either the Democratic Party, the Palestinians or any of the Arab or other states. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley made it absolutely crystal clear that that decision was set in stone and would never change.
It of course hardly helped that the US decided to cut more than $100 million in funding to the UN Relief and Works Agency that provides many critically needed services to Palestinians. Slamming a party that's merely being stubborn may be a good strategy, but slamming a party with a legitimate grievance can be seriously counterproductive.

Donald Trump Jr. "liked" a tweet that blamed the father of one of the Parkland students for not acting to prevent the shooting on February 14th. Problem with doing that? The details aren't at all clear. Junior is seriously jumping the gun here and assigning blame before anyone really knows the story.

Our voting system has been under attack from Russia, but has also been under attack since the younger George Bush Administration started raising fears of in-person voter fraud. Here's a bill that will safeguard our systen.

So after blowing the deficit sky-high with their tax bill in December, the Republican Speaker of the House is, of course, naturally, what did anyone expect?, blaming our social safety net for the deficit.

Important context for why the Second Amendment was written in the first place.

Had a conversation with an FB friend about whether the Green Party's Jill Stein was a "useful idiot" or a "witting asset." Given Stein's rather hysterical attempts to change the subject and to say "Look over there!," I'd have to put her into the "witting asset" category.

There are zero good reasons for the US to still be involved in Syria. The war against ISIS is over and Bashar al-Assad is the legitimate President of that country. I understand we support and like the Kurds, but they're safe in Iraq and can communicate with their fellow Kurds in Syria from there.

President puts out a series of tweets. I write that he is the most divisive president the US has ever had.

Yes, the Russian interference with the vote is serious, but the domestic scaremongering about voter fraud (it happens, but it occurs in about one case out of every 50 million legitimate votes) is also a very serious threat to democracy.

Powerful speech made by survivor of Parkland schol shooting.

As of mid-February, President Trump hasn't held a press conference for a year. I recall the big, ugly stink that people made when Hillary Clinton hadn't held a press conference for almost 260 days. Keep in mind, she was just a candidate at that point! 

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan puts out a statement

We have known that Russians meddled in the election, but these indictments detail the extent of the subterfuge. These Russians engaged in a sinister and systematic attack on our political system.

Great statement. Really cool. I agree completely. Problem is, he talks the talk, but doesn't walk the walk. He fails to put hs money where his mouth is. A citizen asks:

Why have you allowed Nunes to try to obstruct the investigation at every turn, @SpeakerRyan? Why have you not spoken out about Trump's repeated false claims that the Russian interference is a hoax? Why did you laugh about Trump and Rohrbacher being in the pocket of the Russians?

And as the WaPo's Jennifer Rubin says: 

The president‚€™s failure to take action to protect the U.S. election system and prevent another assault on our democracy ‚€” a real and ongoing concern voiced by the unanimous testimony of his top intelligence officials ‚€” appears to be a gross dereliction of Trump‚€™s duties and an abrogation of his oath.

Mash-up video of Speaker Ryan arguing against "knee-jerk" reactions to shootings.

"House Republicans Gut Americans With Disabilities Act" Piece features clip of Rachel Maddow asking "Who the heck runs on the platform of 'I'm going to stick it to crippled people?' Who does that?"

Jared Kushner, the President's son-in-law, has regularly read the PDB (Presidential Daily Brief) since the beginning of his father-in-law's term as president. This is the singlr most highly classified, regularly distributed dcument the government publishes. He has no permanent security clearance. Reasons for this are that he keeps having to update his financial disclosure form and may have serious conflicts of interest. Also, debt is the single greatest reason that people "turn" and become double agents and there are strong indications that Kushner is deeply in debt.

Representative Steve Scalise compares "gun-free zones" with places where guns are allowed. He alleges that we have fewer fatal shootings in the allowed places, but the blogger recounts the situation in the Colorado Walmart last October, where more guns made it much more difficult to locate who the killer was.

Getting legislation on immigration is essentially the Trump Administration's first real attempt at legislation as the health care and budget initiatives were largely Congressional ones. Essentially, the president's team came out of the gate and fell face-first in the mud. 
Y'know, it's amazing, but the legislative model of getting a really small group of like-minded people together, coming up with a plan the group agrees on and then trying to ram through that proposal without getting any buy-in from any other group just doesn't seem to be a very successful model.

Both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner like to conduct diplomacy without any aides with them. Not a particularly smart move. "On at least one occasion, they [Kushner and Cui Tiankai, the Chinese Ambassador to the US] met alone, which counterintelligence officials considered risky. 'There‚€™s nobody else there in the room to verify what was said and what wasn‚€™t, so the Chinese can go back and claim anything.'‚€� Tillerson met with Turkey‚€™s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and was wholly dependent on the Turkish translator.

"Paul Ryan says not yet time for political battles on guns"
Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. When the bodies are being tagged and bagged and the blood is still fresh, that's precisely the correct time to discuss solutions and real gun control. We wait until a "proper" cooling-off period is over, the subject never gets discussed. We've seen way too many shootings over the years to believe that Speaker Ryan will ever voluntarily discuss gun safety measures.

Senator Marco Rubio says:

‚€œI think it‚€™s important to know all of [the facts] before you jump to conclusions that there‚€™s some law we could have passed that could have prevented it,‚€� [Senator Rubio] said. ‚€œThere may be, but shouldn‚€™t we at least know the facts?"

I'm curious. What are these oh-so-important "facts" that Senator Rubio wants to know before any action can be taken on the free and open availability of guns that are more suited for the batlefield than for any conceivable civilian purpose.

"After Florida school shooting, Fox analyst says AR-15s can be stopped 'with a slingshot if you know how to use it'"

First off, Israel faces more of a straight military threat. But Israel has much stricter gun laws than the United States does. Also, "Israel relies on professional members of the military and police force for security, rather than 'good guys with guns' or even Civil Guard volunteers." 
Second, sure you can stop a person with a rifle if you know how to use a slingshot. If, of course, you happen to be carrying a slingshot in the first place! Kind of like saying the shooter in Las Vegas could have been stopped if there had been a professional sharpshooter with a high-powered rifle ready and on the scene.

Cryptocurencies are really cool. But you know who realy, really likes them? Criminals!

Three right-wing conservatives allege that Hollywood is "weaponizing" the #MeToo movement to attack the President.

So how does it work for Palestinians from Gaza to depend on Israel for access to medicine outside the strip?

Palestinians from Gaza missed at least 11,000 scheduled medical appointments in 2017 after the Israeli authorities denied or failed to respond in time to applications for permits.
The Israeli authorities state that they can process priority permits in one day, although the typical waiting time averages two weeks, while "regular" cases require 23 days, and often fail to meet this timetable.

The USDA believes that sending SNAP recipients boxes of food items will cost less money than the current system of issuing checks and allowing people to buy their own food. That sounds highly unlikely to me and doesn't appear to take into account what groups like Hunger Free America are saying about the logistics of moving that much food to so many addresses. I also recall getting supplies in for my ship that was stationed in Italy. We had a shipment of non-perishable foods every few months from the US, but we'd supplement that with regular, smaller supplies of fresh fruits, vegetables and milk from local vendors. The USDA seems to think non-perishable foods are sufficient all by themselves. 
And remember, Puerto Rico only got a tiny fraction of the food that vendors were contracted to deliver ("50,000 of the 30 million meals contracted for"). The same people who bungled that would be in charge of this new initiative.

"Scores of top White House officials lack permanent security clearances" because President Trump's first priority is that people be absolutely loyal. Secondarily, they should be able to do their assigned jobs. It's hard to get people who can do both, especially as Trump's White House is a absolutely horrible place to work.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones names a bunch of nitwits and idiots and then I realize he's talking about his heroes! Yeah, it's an interesting talk. He characterizes net neutrality as a tool favoring the globalists and other such nonsense.

Mass shooting takes place at the  Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, FL and takes 17 lives. And yep, the shooter wore a Trump hat
Some guy comments that the shooting occured in a "gun-free zone." Okay, what is the boundary like between a gun-free zone and a zone where guns are allowed? Oh, that's right, there isn't any! New York state has lots of strict gun laws, but Virginia doesn't. People just drive down to Virginia, purchase guns and ammo and drive back again. Only national borders can screen for guns. State and city and school borders can't do that.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney's assertion that a job is the best social welfare would make sense if jobs paid more than a measly $7.25 an hour. If the minimum wage was at least $15, then a job might be sufficient to life people out of poverty. Nah, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) is right. Mulvaney's budget is immoral. 

The subject of this blog post is important, that our intelligence agancies were never asked to counter Russian interference in our electoral processes, but we also need some word-parsing here.
‚€œUnverified‚€� does not mean ‚€œdiscredited‚€� and ‚€œsalacious‚€� doesn‚€™t have anything to do with credibility.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., thought he'd trapped [FBI Director Christopher] Wray into admitting that the Steele dossier was discredited by asking if Wray agreed with James Comey's earlier statement that it was "salacious and unverified." Cotton seemed taken aback when Wray said that was "something we can discuss more in a closed setting," which naturally left the impression that there was something to discuss.

Permanantly occupying Northern Syria strkes me as a very poor idea. The rewards seem very slight  and, as in Angola in 1975, when the other guys escalate, the US doesn't have any mandate to do likewise.

Yeah, the line from the White House that (words to the effect of) "We just didn't realize how abusive Rob Porter was" was never credible. For a politician to say "Hey, I'm a big picture kind of guy. I wasn't following those fine-grained, nitty-gritty details of who did or didn't have security clearances and why," wouldn't be good, but it would be understandable. For a Chief of Staff to say that? Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. The whole point of having a Chief of Staff is precisely to track exactly those kinds of issues. If John Kelly didn't know several months ago, then he's incompetent and should be fired immediately.

Trump Administration wants to send SNAP recipients boxes of food rather than to simply cut them a check. It's far from clear that the plan would save the government any money as you'd need to purchase the food, move it to warehouses and then hire people to pack and ship the boxes. Also, dietary restrictions would make for lots of waste, as those with say, an allergy to peanut butter would find it easier to chuck the stuff rather than return it. I wrote an LTE to our local paper on the isse. 

Hmm, y'know it's funny, but no one seems to know what the President is talking about when he says his infrastructure plan "has received great reviews." Main problem, as was pointed out here, is that the plan depends on states and localities drawing upon great pots of money that don't actually exist.

It is nice that "Last year, Trump‚€™s budget director, Mick Mulvaney, dismissed his boss‚€™ budget promises as 'hyperbole.'‚€� But it would have been nicer had President Trump explicitly recognized "how difficult it is to balance the federal budget while also lowering taxes, preserving non-discretionary spending, increasing military spending, and cutting discretionary spending." He doesn't appear to have ever really grasped how to do all these things with the budget and still maintain a decent standard of living for regular citizens.

This is why people have concluded that Republicans just couldn't care less about administration figures beating their supposedly "loved ones." When you relegate wife-beating to a "woman's issue" or "soap opera news," you're indicating it's no big deal.

There's a very interesting statement here "Israel has to be very careful with the settlements." Sounds to me as though President Trump is saying to slow down the building of more settlements, which is of course precisely what Obama was saying. What Palestinians want on that issue is for all of the settlements to be removed as soon as possible. Unless the Trump Administration takes that demand seriously and agrees with that principle, Trump's statement of "Right now, I would say the Palestinians are not looking to make peace" will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Representative Jim Himes (D-CT) gives us some straight talk about the Nunes memo versus the Democratic rebuttal memo. Yeah, gee. For some strange reason, the Demcratic memo isn't being as well recieved by the Trump Administration. 

A look at "radical centrists." Never had much use for those who proudly pronounce themselves to be centrists and this piece confirms that. 

Hmm. Kellyanne Conway is asked about the President's respect for women. I notice that Conway has to restrict her proofs to talking about the President's private, behind-the-scenes actions as she can't point to anything where he's publicly treated women as equal to the powerful white men who get accused. It's also rather interesting that White House Communications Director Hope Hicks has been romantically linked to not one, but two men in the Trump Administration who have been accused of violence against women.

Ooh! These are not good! An Israeli jet gets shot down by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces that are Russian and Iranian-supported. Also,  Kurds shoot down a Turkish helicopter. Turkey has been a US ally since NATO was formed back in the late 1940s, the US has been supporting the Kurds since 2003 and especially lately in actions against ISIS.

Fox News contributor Marie Harf really tries! She really does, but her co-hosts won't hear the far more sensible explanation on the FBI lawyer Lisa Page sent to FBI Agent Peter Strzo text message that she offers.

Iraq needs $100 billion to recover from the damage the US did to them with the 2003 invasion and an occupation that lasted until the end of 2011. Obviously the US could have afforded that had they not just blown $1.5 trillion on a tax break and are planning a $200 billion infrastructure bill.

The President puts out a tweet bemoaning the loss of due process for white, wealthy men accused of domestic abuse and assault. This twitter author reproduces the full-page ad encouraging the execution of the Central Park Five, five innocent men wrongly accused of a brutal rape that one Donald J. Trump put into the paper. More details on that case.

The second part to this blog post is infuriating as it relates to austerity/government spending and urgent, real-life priorities. The particular subject here is security clearances.

President says he can't release Democratic response to the Nunes memo without unspecified revisions. Democrats will work with Justice Department to find out what President's concerns are.

Aww, man! House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is so badass! Love it! She speaks, gets interrupted and grins "Touched a nerve there, I hear." Ha, ha, ha!

*Sigh* The President's briefers just can't win for losing. They realize they have to simplify the briefings so he gets them, but "at times, Trump has been dismissive of his briefers. He has shaken his head, frowned and complained that the briefers were 'talking down to him,' this person said."

For a person to say "I'm not fit to shine such-and-such a person's shoes. He exists on a plane far above us mere mortals," is fine. But he has no business saying that other people are on that same humble plane as he is. Steve Cortes has absolutely zero business saying that neither Joan Walsh nor Erin Burnet can criticize White House Chief of Staff Kelly. Kelly clearly failed in a big way and should be fired for it.

'Fraid to say I'm completely on the same page as Krugman here. I thought presidential candidate Ronald Reagan was making a lot of really wild claims during 1980 and concluded very quickly after he was president that this whole "fiscal hawk" stuff was a cover for being against Democrats spending money in ways that helped the non-wealthy.

Kind of interesting that Speaker Paul Ryan would wax poetic over a "bipartisan, bicameral super committee aimed at advancing real reforms to fix our broken budget process," because in the immediately preceding tweet, he put out five priorities, 1. Is okay, but not obviously needed, 2. Is very much needed, 3. Isn't particularly important. 4 & 5 are totally one-sided, partisan goals.

So Kellyanne Conway, a pollster, is running the Trump Administration's effort against opioids, essentially just replicating the work of the "Drug Czar," whose budget is being slashed for no apparent reason. Oh, and "Andrew Giuliani, Rudy Giuliani‚€™s 32-year-old son, who is a White House public liaison and has no background in drug policy," whose main achievement in life has been in the area of golfing, is one of Conway's major assistants.

How poorly has the White House handled the Rob Porter wife abuser scandal? Judging by Amanda Carpenter's reaction here, pretty poorly!

Rob Porter, who served until Wednesday as White House Staff Secretary, did not have a full security clearance, a fact that it's difficult to believe White House Chief of Staff Kelly wasn't aware of. It's equally hard to credit the idea that Kelly was unaware of the specific reason Porter didn't have a clearance, that is, the allegations made against him by two ex-wives.

Yep. back in the past, once upon a time, deficits were a big, important thing.

Wow. Our Attorney General's plan sounds about as useful as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" program was (To be fair to the former FLOTUS, her program was designed for children and was never intended for adults).

This is pretty amazing and saddening. Our Secretary of State admits that Russia is hacking our elections software. When asked what we're doing about that, throws up his hands and says we can't do anything. He's given some stern warnings, but appears to know his warnings will have no effect. Piece has link to correspondent with plenty of things we can do.

Oh good grief! The wannabe dictator, our President, wants a parade

Aww, man-n-n-n! Shep Smith of Fox News is just having way too much fun with the President's idea of having a big military parade. 

Hmm, priorities, priorities. How to decide?

Estimated cost of Trump's military parade: $17.2 million 

Cost to provide housing for every homeless veteran in America (40,000): $24.7 million

Military Times ran a poll. 51,000 respondents answered. 89% oppose a military parade.

The President says: "We are not getting support of the Democrats.‚€� Well, it would kinda help if the Trump Administration could speak with any consistency on what it is they all want. As it is, it appears to just be a complete cluster****. How does the administration feel about DACA? About a government shutdowm? Depends on who you ask

Speaker Ryan says that the Nunes memo is all about the abuse of FISA, which I presumes means spying improperly on domestic opponents. Regardless of what one thinks of FISA, the memo provides zero evidence that the act been abused.

Representative Collins draws what we call a "distinction without a difference." Democrats "didn't applaud Trump" but Republicans were "not overreacting." 

With ISIS having been more or less eliminated in Syria a month or so ago, after having been eliminated in Iraq earlier, it's far from clear what the mission of US troops is in Syria now.

For the GOP to have released the Nunes memo, obviously for political gain, could have serious long-term consequences.

CDC is seriously short on funding. I guess the Trump Administration is just so nostalgic for the flu epidemic of 1918 and the ebola outbreak of 2014, they're figuring "Hey, let's have more of those!"

Eek! Dow is down 1,175 points! Hmm, Janet Yellen was just denied a second term as Federal Reserve Chairperson. And hey, as long as we're talking about the economy being down, "Top 5 Economic Disappointments of the Trump Regime (so far)."

Federally-funded health centers are not being funded at the moment and are under financial pressure. That has an impact on the abortion debate.

"Donald Trump Attacks Democrats Not Clapping At State Of The Union As 'Treasonous'." The President allows his authoritarian flag to fly. Funny how Republicans consistently sat on their hands during Obama's speeches, consistently showed a lack of enthusiasm, but the president at that time never described them as "treasonous" or of not loving America.

Why didn't the RNC pay for the President's trip to Cincinnati? After all, it was a highly political speech! There was barely a pretense of it being anything other than entirely political. Why did American taxpayers pay for it?

"House panel clears release of Democrats‚€™ rebuttal to GOP memo, forcing showdown with Trump."
Very cool! Kudos to the House Republicans on the Intelligence Committee as the Democratic memo was unanimously cleared. Now we'll see if the President has the cojones to sign it.

Yeah, back during October, our President was very eager to take credit for the state of the stock market. Today? Ehhh, not so much. The market's gone down even further since the above piece came out. 

The Pentagon has a lot of problems joining the rest of the Trump Administration in denying climate change as many bases are imperiled by things like seawater rise and extreme weather.

Freedom is a popular thing everywhere! Iranian women speak out against the forced wearing of the hijab. They don't have a problem with themselves or anyone else wearing it voluntarily, of course.

Wow! This guy would get an award from an authoritarian leader! Faced with the crystal clear evidence that the current level of black unemployment has little or nothing to do with the current occupant of the Oval Office, this Trump adviser nevertheless soldiers on and says a bunch of stupid stuff.

Several days after the Nunes memo is released, AG Sessons weighs in. Very little and very late.

Donald Trump Jr. here continues to show just how narrow and constricted his social contacts and news sources are. "Trump Jr.: Nunes Memo Release Is 'A Little Bit Of Sweet Revenge'."

Good! A really seriously fringe extremist was rejected for an environmental post. "But Buchele says Hartnett White told him years before that 'she supported regulations, just not at the expense of growth and that industry is actually essential to a healthy environment.'"
Hmm. Yeah, when she claims to support regulations, but "not at the expense of growth," that doesn't sound as though she supports much regulation at all.

Uma Thurman comes out with allegations that track well with other allegations made against Harvey Weinstein.
Quentin Tarantino is not accused of any sexual improprieties but he apparently acted without any due regard for Thurman's safety when filming a scene.

"Young US Jews Write 700 Letters of Solidarity to Ahed Tamimi." The letters were to celebrate her 17th birthday.

President is absolutely convinced tha Nunes memo "totally vindicates" him. It of course does no such thing.

Speaker Paul Ryan claimed that $1.50 a week bump was a significant and worthwhile consequence of the big tax bill they passed in December. Mockery was so fierce, he quickly deleted the tweet. 

Carter Page was the main subject of the Nunes memo, the fellow that the surveillance and the FISA warrant was all about. Did the warrant rely on the Steele Dossier? Uh, no. Surveillance of Page began in 2013, many years prior to the dossier.

Passed on by an FB friend who lives in China. Living in China means he knows propaganda and he feels this ("China is building a laser 10 trillion times more intense than the Sun that could tear space apart." from Fox News, of course) is one of the most ridiculous propaganda pieces around. Keep in mind when you read this hysterical, overheated piece that a laser is simply light passed through a liquid, a crystal or a gas that then amplifies it in some way.

BTW, my friend feels the really serious and worthwhile news from China is that they've made huge progress in air quality. When he arrived in 2011, the coal smog was a really serious health hazard and they've done quite a bit to clean it up.

I lasted about a minute into Sean Hannity's "case" that FISA had been abused before I heard so many errors/misstatements I had to turn to something else. If you want to tune in, I recommend reading the real facts here on the Nunes memo first.

Update: Think Progress puts out a detailed fact check. Distressingly, his audience is four million, just about all of whom are probably pointing to his monologue and saying "See? Here are the real facts!"

The tax cut passed in December by the Republican Party is draining the coffers faster than expected.

Young Turks discuss the just-released Nunes memo. Huh! Didn't know Francesca Fiorentini was a member of that group. Cool that she is, though.

Some Republicans deeply impressed with the Nunes memo. Others, including Representative Trey Gowdy, who was about the only member of Congress that read all of the underlying, background material, were considerably less impressed.

The central claim of the Nunes memo is that the FISA process was abused. Problem is that neither Representatives Trey Gowdy nor Adam Schiff agreed with Nunes on that. Nunes is desperately trying to make his actions appear far more reasonable then they actually were. It was wildly irresponsible for Nunes to make the claims he did.

Wow! When Ex-Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez has "no confidence" in the Nunes memo, that's saying something! More criticisms of the memo here, here and here.

"Trump clears way for release of the memo over objections of FBI, DOJ and Democrats."
Shortly after the Women's March, a friend asked another (words to the effect of) "Why? Why do people not Love Our Glorious Leader?" To which I'd answer that we know Fox News was at least as critical of Obama as the traditional mainstream press has been of Trump. There haven't been any financial or foreign policy disasters over the past year. Yet according to Gallup (They've been conducting daily approval polls of the president since Harry Truman) Obama never got below a 40% approval rating and Trump has been at 40% or below since June of last year. The answer, I believe, is illustrated in this piece, where the President acts as a tinpot, Third World dictator of a banana republic and demonstrates zero concern for the rule of law.

Update: President takes comfort from an obviously outlier of a poll that puts him at 49% approval.

So it only took a single phone call to persuade the President that drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge was a good idea. It obviously never occurred to him to ask "Why have people been opposing drilling in ANWR all these years?"

Before it decided to release the Nunes memo, the House Intelligence Committee took partisan, party-line vote after vote. This was despite the fact that the White House was inceasingly concerned that the memo might be a dud. Speaker Ryan is asked about the memo and immediately change the subject to tax cuts

"The Fascist underpinnings of Trump’s State of the Union."
Our blogger reviews the SOTU and is considerably less than impressed. Piece includes Young Turks clip. 

Rachel Maddow did a piece on this last night (Jan 31). Three Russian spy chiefs arrive in Washington DC and we have to learn about it from Russian media. We never heard anything from the American government on this.

Eric Trump always just reminds me of the very limited and constricted social circles he spends time in. He speaks of liberals and Democrats as though they were alien creatures who lived on a far-off planet. He obviously doesn't know any personally. He says Democrats were terrible and unpatriotic and obviously didn't love America or Jesus because they didn't stand and cheer for his dad often enough.  

MSNBC's Chuck Todd is his usual unhelpful self here, drawing a false equivalence between Democrats and Republicans not standing and cheering for the other Presidents' SOTU. 

January                      back to top

"Trump Didn’t Bother to Say What Happened to the Birth Mother in His Police Adoption Anecdote."
We see in a photo the First Lady, the heroic and generous police officer and the officer's wife with the baby of the woman who had drug and legal problems. Where is that last person? Nowhere in the picture, not named and the President couldn't be bothered to explain how she was doing.

Hmm "Fitzgerald, who is 71, declined to explain to Politico why she purchased thousands of dollars of Big Tobacco stocks after assuming leadership of the CDC on July 7." Sounds to me like someone had some inside iformation

Wow! Just ... wow! About the Nunes Memo, the document that not all of the intelligence agencies have been able to review or who have just had a brief time to look at, this has to be the most wildly, incredibly irresponsible statement from White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: "I'll let all the experts decide that when it's released. This president wants everything out so the American people can make up their own minds." Main problem the piece identifies is that the Nunes Memo presents information without context or explanation. Naturally, of course, the GOP hasn't cleared the Democratic rebuttal memo for release.

Hmm, interesting. Representative Jason Chaffetz quits and now Reprentative Trey Gowdy announces his retrirement. Chaffetz was head of the Oversight Committe, just as Gowdy is now.

The President said a few good things in his first SOTU regarding national unity. We don't even need to look for examples outside this particular speech to see how hollow and empty those statements were. Problem is, his idea of "unity" seems to be the crowds at his own campaign rallies or of a Nuremberg rally in the 1930s, Nothing that an American would recognize as real unity.

Wow! Yeah, statements like “I don’t think anyone can argue it is probably one of the most successful first years in office,” and an assertion that the President “has some wind at his back,” are just stunningly out-of-touch! I'd say Trump's first year is a lot like the younger George Bush's last three years, he's disliked by pretty much everyone outside the hard-core right wing and can't get much through Congress.

How Rs & Ds feel about the other party's presidents during bad times is similar. Percentage of Republicans who said Clinton provided poor moral leadership in 1999 was 91%. Percentage of Democrats who say the same about Trump today is 96%. The real difference is between how they felt about their own respective presidents at the time. "After the Lewinsky scandal, 65% of Democrats disapproved of Bill Clinton’s morality. Today, just 16% of Republicans say Donald Trump doesn’t provide moral leadership."

In advance of the State of the Union (SOTU) Address, what's the real state of the union?

Slovenia is now the second country after Sweden to recognize Palestine as a state. Our FLOTUS is a Slovenian.

UN Ambassador Nikki Haley is trying really, really hard to convince people that Iran launched or provided some missiles that were aimed at targets in Saudi Arabia. As the piece here points out, it's far from clear which country manufactured the missiles. As a group examined the missiles earlier, they asked when the missiles were launched. If they were launched before the agreement with Iran was signed, then they're completely irrelevant. Those presenting the missiles had no idea when they were launched.

The Trump Administration wants to release the Nunes memo in the name of "transparency." The institutions named in the memo haven't been able to review it and so have opposed its release. This is hardly an administration that can credibly talk of transparency.

Very happy to see at least one member in the mainstream press admitting that he was guilty of drawing a false equivalence between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump in 2016. 
Also nice to see that Maureen Down, who played a "Mean Girl" to President Obama also now sees the light and that Obama was a good president. 

Really stupid piece on how nuclear wars can be won and that our hugely excessive number of nuclear weapons serves any purpose beyond fattening the wallets of arms contractors. 

Good thinkpiece on how our intelligence agencies and media and technology people can protect the 2018 midterm elections.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Of course former Press Secretart Sean Spicer regrets working for the Trump Administration! He totally surrendered any integrity he had. That's why no one will hire him and why Sarah Huckabee Sanders won't ever get hired either. That's the fate that waits for lots of Trump people and why no one is on deck to replace them.

Very disturing to see far-right supporters of the President calling for the deaths of political opponents.

Saturday Night Live's Will Farrell brought up a very good point. Yes, the younger George Bush was a better president than Donald Trump is, but only by comparison. Bush was an absolutely awful president.

Our President was asked about global warming. He doesn't appear to be any better informed on that than he is about much of anything else. No one knows where he got this: “The ice caps were going to melt, they were going to be gone by now, but now they’re setting records.”

Here's the problem with living in glass houses and throwing stones. Many GOP members were eager to condemn Democrats in October as the sexual harasser Harvey Weinstein had been a generous donor to the Democratic Party. Democrats agreed and condemned him and returned his contributions. Now, the casino mogul Steve Wynn played a far more central role to the Republican Party and his scandalous behavior towards women is at least equally egregious. Unlike Weinstein, who was just a movie producer, Wynn was the Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee. So Wynn is quite a bit more embarrassing to the Republican Party than Weinstein was to the Democrats. So the Republican silence and very unenlightening statements on Wynn are quite notable. 

Update: RNC's disposal of Wynn's money.

"Entire board of USA Gymnastics resigns after enabling Nassar abuse. USAG received early reports of Nassar's abuse, but dragged its feet to take any action."
Good! There wasn't enough sense of either shame or duty sufficient to have protected the gymnasts, but there was at least enough to see to it that enablers quit their posts.

"Donald Trump's mouth has cost U.S. 40,000 jobs and $4.6 billion in lost tourism." This was a concern back when President Trump's first attempted to put travel bans into place. This is one of the many reasons why the economy will decline during this administration.

Despite our President being stubbornly retrogressive, most of the world's businesses are seeing the light and are moving towards renewable energy.

Big gulf between the parties. A few months after Trump became the President, Democrats gave the "moral and ethical climate" of this country a 37, Republicans gave it a 22. Currently, Democrats rate it as 23 and Republicans as 31. Republican approval is now up to where it was in 2008, right before Obama became President.

Got a letter from Senator Toomey (R-PA) where he commented on President Obama and DACA: 

To the contrary, the Constitution requires the President to enforce the law. President Obama simply did not have the legal authority to create the DACA program and to ignore enforcement of existing immigration law. In fact, he said on numerous occasions before he created DACA that it would be unlawful and contrary to the Constitution for him to create such a program through executive action.

Problem is, Obama never agreed that he was breaking the law. "In contrast, he emphasized his authority to set priorities until Congress approved the DREAM Act, a measure that would formalize the legal status of this group of immigrants."

CNN's Kaitlan Collins has a very clear, simple, straightforward message for older male bosses who might be thinking of dating their younger female subordinates. "Don't." Your female subordinates have no romantic or sexual interest in you. If females want to chase you, they'll do so at cocktail parties or other social events, they won't use the workplace to catch your eye. 

Iraq is cleared of ISIS, so US forces have no one to fight any longer. Syria is split between US-backed Kurds, Turkey and the central government of Bashar al-Assad, backed by Russia and Iran. US forces can keep backing the Kurds, as long as the fight doesn't get very big. This now resembles Angola in 1975. The US and South Africa had troops inside Angola prior to Angola's independence. Problem was, Cuba flooded Angola with troops and the US didn't have any sort of popular mandate with the American people to defend Angola with. Similarly, the US can maintain some support for the Kurds in Syria, but only until our opponents there get really serious. 

TPP has lots of flaws and problems, I and many other progressives agree. Problem is, when an administration can't come up with a meaningful alternative, their opinion just becomes "The world just moves on without us." 

Fox News commenter Sean Hannity delivers comedy gold. Sayng roughly "We've got a scandal!"
"Oops, uh, no we don't."
"Hey, check out this high-speed auto chase!" All within a half-hour. 

So what was Hannity so excitable about? Ptresident Trump demonstrated that the meaning of the term "fake news" is quite clear. It's news that makes the President look bad, news he doesn't like. The term says absolutely nothing whatsoever about how accurate the item really is. The news in this case was that he tried to fire Robert Mueller a few months ago. 

Good summary of all of the "Secret Society" nonsense.

The answers that Press Secretary Sanders gives to the latest mass shooting are a mess because even though the Trump Administration, Republican Senators and Representatives and conservative media commentators all shouted in unison in October that "It's too soon after horrific shootings to discuss practical, legislative answers to gun violence!" What they all really meant was "We have no intention of ever discussing practical, legislative answers to gun violence!"

"American democracy is failing. The courts are finally starting to notice."
Very encouraging signs, but after a "lost decade," lots and lots of work to do. We'll probably need a Constitutional Convention to set things right.

A Republican Senator makes a truly incredble claim.  The claim is that there is a "Secret Society" within the FBI. Even the Fox News announcer is leery of this claim.

Representative Charlie Dent (R-PA) is amazed he even has to address this "secret society" nonsense.

"Lara Trump Says Women Are Too Stupid To Know Why They Are Marching."
Lara Trump asks "Why/ Why don't the people Love Our Glorious Leader (Donald Trump, her father-in-law)?!?!?! I wrote a blog post on that. 

"Schumer takes Trump's border-wall funding off the table."
So by pushing for everything the Trump Administration got nothing. They upped the ante so much, they blew the deal. Good for Minority Leader Schumer!

Sad to say, I completely agree with this

It’s the 20th anniversary of the Great Penis Hunt of 1998. This happens to be when modern American political journalism went into a very bad tailspin out of which it has not yet recovered.

Nope. Sorry. Wrong answer. No, President Trump doesn't get a "mulligan" (golf term meaning "do-over") for cheating on his wife with a porn star. What's good for the goose is good for the gander. If Clinton was an evil, horrible, terrible person for cheating on his wife, then Trump is at least as much so. 

Yeah, I completely agree with Michael Steele. Evangelists have zero business talking about any sort of moral superiority on their part. 

Hmm, nope. Not buying it. I don't agree with Evamgalists see that Donald Trump has changed in any significant way.

The Republican Party thought the achievements of Obama would be easily swept away. Obama's achievements have been amazingly durable.

This sounds pretty reasonable as a missio for US forces in Syria:  "Green said the civilian mission was not to rebuild but to help civilians return home by clearing roadside bombs, and restoring water and electricity." But I'm very wary about this: "US forces in Syria have already faced direct threats from Syrian and Iranian-backed forces, leading to the shoot-down of Iranian drones and a Syrian jet last year, as well as to tensions with Russia."
This sounds to me like the compromised, half-in, half-out strategy that the US was using in Vietnam and has tried without much success in various places since then.

The Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) is perhaps the most highly classified regularly-distributed document that the government has. Jared Kushner gets a copy every day. Kushner does not have a top-secret security clearance! Fun fact: Obama had a total of seven officials cleared to see his PDBs at the end of eight years in office. Trump already has 14 people on that distribution list!

Glenn Greenwald's done a lot of good investigative work, but I agree with Southpaw, I care very deeply about foreign powers mucking around in our elections.

Seems to me that Nixon tried the "Madman Theory" of foreign relations and the American public was much more frightened by it than our adversaries were. So if this "Poll: Almost half of voters question Trump's mental stability" is some deliberate plot by our President, it isn't working.

Hmm. So Ivanka Trump is in the process of "Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic," by trying to get White House Chieff of Staff John Kelly fired. I'm hard-pressed to get too excitable about this. Yes, it would be this White House's third Chief of Staff in a little bit over a year, but Kelly's hasn't exactly been doing a good job. The President's tweets and announcements are as undisciplined as ever and Kelly has revealed some seriously archaic beliefs. So I'm like "Ehh."

In the now-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission, we now have documents saying they were trying to tag all voters with Hispanic surnames, at least for Texas and fortunately, those records were never turned over!

VP Mike Pence encourages Palestinians to return to the peace talks with Israel. But according to the Palestinians, that isn't going to happen. "Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator, said Pence’s speech on Monday 'has proven that the U.S. administration is part of the problem rather than the solution.'”
Pence also said discouraging things about peace with Iran.

Lots of arguments against and a link to a Vox piece arguing for the Democratic strategy on shutdown ending today. Dunno, I think Democrats came out ahead today. 

"WH releases photos of Trump working through shutdown." Yeah, if I were the PR guy here, I would not have approved this photo. We know that the President is anxious to get to Mar-a-Lago and then Davos so he can hobnob with his wealthy buddies. So a picture of him wearing a hat and jacket without a tie  tells us that he's just wrapping up a few quick details before hopping onto the helicopter and getting out of town. The photo does not give the impression of "I'm working hard for the American people!" As an FB buddy pointed out: "empty desk: no computer, no folders filled with background material. A completely staged picture that shows he does nothing."

This is especially worrying about the shutdown. Foreigners are watching how the Trump Administration negotiates and they have no reason to feel confident that any agreement they reach will be honored.

Also, it doesn't sound as though the Republican Party is in any hurry to end the shutdown."[Senate Minority Leader Chuck] Schumer: White House Hasn't Called Me To Negotiate Gov't Shutdown."

Poor Senator Flake got hit from the left and the right for his comment that President Trump's language dangerously resembles that of Josef Stalin. Lefties were unimpressed because Flake isn't following up his rhetoric with actions like voting with Democrats. Right-wingers like Howard Kurtz have to be really obtuse and needs to pretend to be ignorant in order to criticize Flake.

Women's March in Philadelphia. I'd say we had about 1/5th fewer people this year. We could move around more freely. Not quite as jammed up. 

Update: Sunday shows barely mentioned the march.

Oh, and while the President is sad that he's missing his inauguration anniversary party due to the government shutdown, things aren't going all that well overseas. "Russia accuses US of destabilizing Syria with Kurdish-Turkish Clash."

The amusing thing about Hannity's rant here is: Since when is it the responsibility of prosecutors and investigators to be objective?!?!?! Jury members, at the beginning of a trial, should be objective. Judges should be objective from the beginning to the end. No one else in the judicial process has any objectivity requirement. Also, people can separate their own personal feelings from the facts of the case.

"Yeesh! Why are the libs so critical of Our Glorious Leader for playing golf so much?"
Well, here ya go! Because our President has spent so much time on the links and not enough in the office, "Of the roughly 130 federal office and agencies that have to have shutdown contingency plans, 66 of them haven’t been updated since 2015."

What's the situation that led to the shutdown

It's been 112 days since CHIP expired, 112 days since the fiscal year ended without a budget, and 137 days since Trump revoked DACA. The #TrumpShutdown could have been avoided if Republicans simply did their job last fall instead of waiting until the last minute.

And the "Trump Shutdown" commences. Heh! "Trump Shutdown" trending worldwide on Twitter. Got a few people on Facebook trying to tag is as "Schumer Shutdown." Sorry guys! No one is blaming Democrats!

Excellent piece by an anti-choicer. Yes, I do see her movement as one that "only cares about an unborn child until he or she exits the womb," and the author is right that having the very highly divisive President Trump as a speaker does absolutely nothing to convince people that the movement cares about women as opposed to just their babies.

*Sigh* Yeah, looks like we'll have a shutdown. Caught someone on TV saying "Democrats are simply not going to put up with policy being made by Stephen Miller and Tom Cotton."

Republicans threatened on the 19th, to release what later became known as the "Nunes memo." Some guy on the Fox News Sean Hannity show said it would release a “tsunami of information” exposing “Obama/ Clinton/ Deep State scandals.” My reaction was

Oh, Hell YES! Release it all! Release it all NOW! Wonder why we haven't heard anything more about the recently reopened Uranium One "scandal?" That's because it was a nothingburger. My very strong suspicion is that we'll see the same here.

Update (Feb 2): Yep, the memo was a complete bust. Absolutely chock-full of lies and information that didn't prove anything. Many Republicans disagreed that it said anything meaningful.

"Trump delays latest golf trip to Florida—at least until tomorrow—as Republican shutdown looms."
In response to one of my posts lately, I got lots and lots of comments! One of the commenters wondered why "libs make fun of Trump for his golfing." My answer was 

No, we don't make fun of him. We regard his grossly excessive golfing as Dereliction of Duty. There are many issues he hasn't taken the time to understand. There are many government positions where there is no nominee. He's blowing off tasks that need doing.

Colleen Rowley and the Veterans for Peace put out a meme stating that the US has refused offers from North Korea for peace. US News and World Report confirmed that in September. On the face of it, the North Korean proposal, a "Freeze for a Freeze" sounds pretty reasonable. Cancel military exercises where the US and South Korea pretend to invade the North in return for North Korea standing down its nuclear program. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley said: "When a rogue regime has a nuclear weapon and an [intercontinental ballistic missile] pointed at you, you do not take steps to lower your guard." 
"Lower [our] guard"?!?!?! That seems a pretty hysterical, overheated way of regarding the question. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House was looking at "aggressive measures, both diplomatically [and] economically. As we've said, all options are on the table." If canceling provocative military exercises are out of the question, it's difficult to imagine what options are on the table!

Rachel Maddow reveals through a report on Fusion GPS just how the Russians have moved money to Donald Trump and subordinates. Essentially, they just overpay for properties.

Rather, erm, eh, interesting view of civil rights here! The Trump Administration believes it's a "civil right" for bigots to not have to provide medical services to people they feel are morally unworthy. Yes, this is a very, very dangerous principle to put into law.

Hee, hee, hee! Former New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tries to use the VIP gate at the airport so he can fly back home. Airport people say "Nope!" He's gotta use the regular person's gate. Story features photo of him looking really cross.

This is extremely bad. The majority of the board that advised the Interior Department resigned because, after about a year on the job, they were simply being ignored. Secretary Ryan Zinke just didn't care to consult them at all. This is no way to run a government.

The "Stormy Daniels" is titillating, but the financial aspect is important. A very big and important question is where the pay-off money came from. What account, from whose pocket was it taken? Doesn't sound like an isolated event, either.

"House Spending Bill Changes Law To Let Trump Administration Secretly Shift Intelligence Money."
Oh, good grief! There's so little oversight as it is! These guys feel that they need even less oversight?!?!?!

So the President finally put out his "Fake News" awards. First one is kind of a puzzle. A prediction from an economist that the stock market would "never recover" from Trump's election victory. I have a really hard time classifying an incorrect prediction as any sort of "fake" or "false" or "dishonest" news. I don't think that really fits the definition. There's no dishonesty in being wrong. The "awards" that follow are similarly underwhelming.

Update: Not surprisingly, the President's "Fake News Awards" suffered from a severe lack of work, time, effort, truth and relevance. They were a "healhearted flop." 

Early in President Obama's term, he got the P5+1 powers to impose sanction on Iran. Iran finally said "Uncle!" and sat down to a serious negotiation which lead to the nuclear deal. Is President Trump's approach to DACA similar? Yeah, a bit. He blew up DACA and then waited for Democrats to offer concession on it. The problem? As Senate Majority Leader McConnell says: "I am looking for something that President Trump supports..."  In other words, if the President had any sort of coherent plan to follow up his taking apart DACA with, he might have made something other than a mess.

Very bad staffing news. The Trump Administration has no one waiting to fill positions after the current people get burned out and quit. For people to burn out while working for the president is very common and goes back several decades, but the lack of people to replace them is a new problem. 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau spent several years trying to carefully balance the interests of all of the stakeholders in the predatory "payday lending" industry. Under direct control from the Trump Administration, the CFPB has said words to the effect of: "Ah, screw that! Screw the consumer! It's the lenders and only the lenders that are important!"

The US is trying to create a 30,000 strong police force in Northern Syria. From Ankara,Turkey to Moscow, Russia, this is a highly unpopular move .

Problem with being a bigly unpopular US president who has a lot of foreign properties is that Trump's finances are taking a major clobbering!

Absolutely unacceptable! As of Day 113 of after Hurricane Maria, over 1.3 million in Puerto Rico are still without electricity. As Vox points out, Puerto Rico's power grid was in very poor shape before the hurricane, making recovery doubly difficult. 

Bristol Palin (Daughter of Sarah) makes a comment: "If Donald Trump were still just a regular old billionaire and threw a party at Trump Tower in New York City, celebrties would be lined up out the door." Dinesh D'Souza quotes her and responds: "Bristol Palin seems so much smarter than her horse-faced counterpart Chelsea Clinton."
It's difficult to see how Palin's statement qualifies as more than an elementary school-level comment. It's even less apparent that D'Souza is any sort of intellectual. 

Update: D'Souza makes an entirely accurate comment about Democrats and racism and the Southern "one-drop rule" versus the Nazi rule of who constituted a Jew. Of course, in emphasizing that he's referring to Democrats, he's ignoring that Democrats and Republicans, between the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, essentially switched places between being the parties of racism and equality. 

So apparently, the problem with that fellow in the White House is that he's a vague and confused old man, uninterested in policy details and very easily manipulated by his subordinates. The really serious problem beyond that is that the hard-liners of the Freedom Caucus aren't the slightest bit interested in any deal that the rest of the country can support.

So first President Trump declares that the US Government will do something about opoids. It takes about 11 weeks to then produce a very underwhelming policy document. Then a wildly-under-qualified 24-year old person gets assigned to run the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Yep, situation normal, all effed up. Further details.

The move to open up the coast to oil drilling looking like a serious blunder.

See, here's the problem with President Trump's "fake news awards." We know for a fact, the Wall Street Journal had recordings, that he was quoted accurately, but he attacked them as "fake news" anyway. To the President "fake news" is simply news that he doesn't like

So when economic protests broke our in Iran, President Trump attempted to put himself and the US on the side of ordinary Iranians and against the Mullahs. How'd that work out? Ehh, not well. Problem is, Iranians are not the slightest bit convinced that the US is really on their side or cares the slightest bit about their concerns. 

Thoughts on President Trump and racism.

"Stormy Daniels" is the porn performer who slept with the President back in 2006 and got paid $130,000 to keep hushed up about it. Interesting thread about the financial/criminal implications of that.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was the head of the recently-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission. He created a lot of questions with his suggestion that the disbanding was purely for the purpose of frustrating Democratic attempts to force the Commission to be somewhat accountable. The Commission requested voter data from all 50 states. Some complied, some didn't and many did so partially. Kobach has now been forbidden to use that data under any circumstances.

Very interesting! The President sees the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 as the template for all migration from non-wealthy countries to the US. Of course, for Cuba to dump its population of criminals and people with mental problems onto Florida was a highly unusual one-off.
Of course, President Trump's disparaging the people of Haiti and praise for the people of Norway is a gift to US competitors and enemies.

"Trump administration offshore drilling move reeks of illegal political favoritism"
In light of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's statement that "Florida is obviously unique" as far as offshore drilling is concerned, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) says: 

His decision reeks of improper political favoritism. It’s also illegal. By treating Florida differently than other similarly situated states, Zinke’s planned program will likely be struck down by the courts and demonstrates that his decision-making is an abuse of discretion, and is arbitrary and capricious. There is no legal standard that would appear to allow his decision to stand.

Excellent commentary from MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Republican, on the Presidet's "shuthole" comment. President Trump's words aren't just anti-liberal, they're anti-American!

And yeah, I agree with whoever this other person was:

More from today’s “sh*thole” mtg: Trump said, “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” according to our sources. Someone else in room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why."

"Walmart quietly lays off thousands of workers after bonus announcement" Um, isn't that the exact opposute of what Republicans said would happen after they rammed their tax plan through Congress? Can we blame Walmart for its action? Eh, ya bring a picnic lunch out into the woods, realize you forgot napkins, go back to the car, return and some bear is eating your lunch. Is it the bear's fault or is the bear just being a bear? The real problem is that the Republican Party is alleged to have thought that tax cuts would cause companies to keep people employed.

Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway and CNN's Chris Cuomo demonstrate fundamentally different approaches to combatting bad speech. Conway and her boss President Trump want to "look at the libel laws." Cuomo argues for the compettion of ideas, for American ideals to be carried out in real time. 

Also, Kellyanne Conway says that the declaration that the US will move their Israel Embassy to Jerusalem was an "accomplishment." It was a unilateral move made without any coordination with Middle East countries or with the Democratic Party. The Republican Party just said "Oh, okay." and went back to sleep. Most of the world voted against us in reaction. Hard to see how this counts as an accomplishment.

Two people message each other and one of them expresses concern that Trump might win the 2016 election. President Trump considers his comment to be "treason."

Problem with being a bigly unpopular US president who has a lot of foreign properties is that Trump's finances are taking a major clobbering!

Absolutely unacceptable! As of Day 113 of after Hurricane Maria, over 1.3 million in Puerto Rico are still without electricity. As Vox points out, Puerto Rico's power grid was in very poor shape before the hurricane, making recovery doubly difficult. 

Bristol Palin (Daughter of Sarah) makes a comment: "If Donald Trump were still just a regular old billionaire and threw a party at Trump Tower in New York City, celebrties would be lined up out the door." Dinesh D'Souza quotes her and responds: "Bristol Palin seems so much smarter than her horse-faced counterpart Chelsea Clinton."
It's difficult to see how Palin's statement qualifies as more than an elementary school-level comment. It's even less apparent that D'Souza is any sort of intellectual. 

Update: D'Souza makes an entirely accurate comment about Democrats and racism and the Southern "one-drop rule" versus the Nazi rule of who constituted a Jew. Of course, in emphasizing that he's referring to Democrats, he's ignoring that Democrats and Republicans, between the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan, essentially switched places between being the parties of racism and equality. 

So apparently, the problem with that fellow in the White House is that he's a vague and confused old man, uninterested in policy details and very easily manipulated by his subordinates. The really serious problem beyond that is that the hard-liners of the Freedom Caucus aren't the slightest bit interested in any deal that the rest of the country can support.

So first President Trump declares that the US Government will do something about opoids. It takes about 11 weeks to then produce a very underwhelming policy document. Then a wildly-under-qualified 24-year old person gets assigned to run the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Yep, situation normal, all effed up. Further details.

The move to open up the coast to oil drilling looking like a serious blunder.

See, here's the problem with President Trump's "fake news awards." We know for a fact, the Wall Street Journal had recordings, that he was quoted accurately, but he attacked them as "fake news" anyway. To the President "fake news" is simply news that he doesn't like

So when economic protests broke our in Iran, President Trump attempted to put himself and the US on the side of ordinary Iranians and against the Mullahs. How'd that work out? Ehh, not well. Problem is, Iranians are not the slightest bit convinced that the US is really on their side or cares the slightest bit about their concerns. 

Thoughts on President Trump and racism.

"Stormy Daniels" is the porn performer who slept with the President back in 2006 and got paid $130,000 to keep hushed up about it. Interesting thread about the financial/criminal implications of that.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was the head of the recently-disbanded Voter Integrity Commission. He created a lot of questions with his suggestion that the disbanding was purely for the purpose of frustrating Democratic attempts to force the Commission to be somewhat accountable. The Commission requested voter data from all 50 states. Some complied, some didn't and many did so partially. Kobach has now been forbidden to use that data under any circumstances.

Very interesting! The President sees the Mariel Boatlift of 1980 as the template for all migration from non-wealthy countries to the US. Of course, for Cuba to dump its population of criminals and people with mental problems onto Florida was a highly unusual one-off.
Of course, President Trump's disparaging the people of Haiti and praise for the people of Norway is a gift to US competitors and enemies.

"Trump administration offshore drilling move reeks of illegal political favoritism"
In light of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's statement that "Florida is obviously unique" as far as offshore drilling is concerned, Representative Ted Lieu (D-CA) says: 

His decision reeks of improper political favoritism. It’s also illegal. By treating Florida differently than other similarly situated states, Zinke’s planned program will likely be struck down by the courts and demonstrates that his decision-making is an abuse of discretion, and is arbitrary and capricious. There is no legal standard that would appear to allow his decision to stand.

Excellent commentary from MSNBC's Nicolle Wallace, a former Bush Administration Republican, on the Presidet's "shuthole" comment. President Trump's words aren't just anti-liberal, they're anti-American!

And yeah, I agree with whoever this other person was:

More from today’s “sh*thole” mtg: Trump said, “Why do we need more Haitians, take them out,” according to our sources. Someone else in room responded: “Because if you do, it will be obvious why."

"Walmart quietly lays off thousands of workers after bonus announcement" Um, isn't that the exact opposute of what Republicans said would happen after they rammed their tax plan through Congress? Can we blame Walmart for its action? Eh, ya bring a picnic lunch out into the woods, realize you forgot napkins, go back to the car, return and some bear is eating your lunch. Is it the bear's fault or is the bear just being a bear? The real problem is that the Republican Party is alleged to have thought that tax cuts would cause companies to keep people employed.

Presidential advisor Kellyanne Conway and CNN's Chris Cuomo demonstrate fundamentally different approaches to combatting bad speech. Conway and her boss President Trump want to "look at the libel laws." Cuomo argues for the compettion of ideas, for American ideals to be carried out in real time. 

Also, Kellyanne Conway says that the declaration that the US will move their Israel Embassy to Jerusalem was an "accomplishment." It was a unilateral move made without any coordination with Middle East countries or with the Democratic Party. The Republican Party just said "Oh, okay." and went back to sleep. Most of the world voted against us in reaction. Hard to see how this counts as an accomplishment.

Two people message each other and one of them expresses concern that Trump might win the 2016 election. President Trump considers his comment to be "treason."

"after congressional lawmakers proposed reinstating protections for immigrants from" nations with largely non-white populations, the President asked: “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?”

The President's staff felt this comment might help with Trump's base voters, so hey, no biggie!

So Sarah Huckabee Sanders "gaslights" a journalist (The bad guy turns down the lights and then says "What? No, it's not getting dark in here. You're imagining things again.") by telling the journalist that two completely contradictory tweets are in fact, perfectly consistent with each other.

If Ronald Reagan was the king of "magical thinking," then Oprah Winfrey was its queen. Yes, that means President Trump is very much a product of the landscape that Winfrey played a role in creating.

Hmm. Did candidate Donald Trump's apparent opposition to foreign adventurism ("America First") combined with Clinton's apparent willingness to continue with them contribute to her defeat in 2016?

President Trump lets his authoritarian flag fly, making it clear that, although he's not a dictator, he sure does want to be. Very disturbingly, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA), gave a response that no one in such a position should ever give, suggesting he was eager to comply with the President's demand.

The NY Times betrays a pro-Trump bias by waits several paragraphs to deliver this line: "He did not lapse into incoherence but neither did he demonstrate mastery of policy details after a year in office." Think they call that "grading on a generous curve."

Representative John Lewis (D-GA) sponsored a bill to upgrade the birthplace of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Happy to say the bill was signed into law. Does this prove that President Trump is not a racist? It's tempting to read too much into the signing, but I'd say Dr. King is a pretty safe, non-controversial, historical figure by this point.

There's an object about 3 billion light-years away (Milky Way Galaxy is 100,000 light-years across) that's throwing off magnetic bursts that last from 30 microseconds to 9 milliseconds. Each burst throws out as much power as our sun puts out in a day. If this object were in our galazy, we would definitely have known about it a long time ago. 

What a completely insane idea! "U.S. officials are mulling the possibility of launching a military strike against North Korean targets without provoking war on the Korean Peninsula." I hav absolutely zero confidence that such a strategy could ever work under any circumstances.

Working for the White House is a really tough, exhausting job under any president. Word that this particular WH is an absolutely horrible workplace along with this president being incapable of doing the job makes staffing an extremely serious problem.

President Trump tries to prove the Wolff Book "Fire & Fury" wrong by conducting an open meeting/debate on immigration. Politically, for him, the results were disastrous. It reminds me of Democrats trying to deal with Speaker of the House John Boehner in 2011. He was perfectly willing to make deals. He just couldn't deliver the votes of the Tea Party/Freedom Caucus people. It was a complete waste of time to talk with him. Same here. It's a complete waste of time to talk with the President because he can't deliver on his own vote as he can't seem to remember what his vote was ten minutes after he's cast it.

Heh! The very right-wing Ann Coulter gives us a very accurate assesssment of the meeting. 

By contrast, the moderate CNN panel is ridiculously over-impressed with what was clearly a doddering, vague president who didn't understand what was going on around him.

Good! Democrats have been calling for the release of the Fusion GPS interview, which Republicans have refused to do. Senator Feinstein did so over their objections and hey, whattaya know? There appear to be claims that the GOP has made that are inconsistent with the transcript! 

The following statement from Senator Grassley's office would have more impact if Fusian GPS hadn't requested that the transcript be released.

A Grassley spokesperson, in a statement, called Feinstein’s release of the transcript “confounding” and said her action “undermines the integrity of the committee’s oversight work and jeopardizes its ability to secure candid voluntary testimony relating to the independent recollections of future witnesses.”

Oh, Good Lord! This is completely insane! Absolute fascism! The Louisiana schoolteacher here asks a very good and very legitimate question and got manhandled and cuffed and dragged out of the building for it.

Whew! Good!!!

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) unanimously rejected Energy Secretary Rick Perry’s plan to raise consumer energy bills in order to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants — a major blow to the Trump administration’s effort to slow the growth of solar and wind power.

Ohio wants to purge voters from the rolls who haven't voted recently. Hard to see what legitimate purpose this would serve. My understanding of registering to vote is that after you've registered, you're on the rolls until some life change happens, like dying, being imprisoned or moving to another town/state/country.

Ivanka Trump gives Oprah's speech a "You go, girl!" endosement. Eh, if she gets criticized from the right wing, she'll retreat right off. 

Turns out that, in the Wolff Book "Fire & Fury," Steve Bannon attacked Don Jr. and Ivanka Trump. I agree that when Rush Limbaugh attacked the 13-year old Chelsea Clinton over the issue of her looks, that was disgusting. When Bannon criticizes Don Jr. and Ivanka, who are both in their 30s? Ehh, I don't blame our President for reacting strongly, a dad defending his kids is perfectly understandable. But I have a much harder time getting protective of grown-up White House children who both have children of their own.

In response to the report that President Trump shows up for work around 11:00am these days.

For comparison, George W. Bush was usually in the Oval by 7am. Obama had a morning workout routine, but he was in there by 8:30-9am according to reports. Both worked until 6pm or so. Obama often came back late at night. You know, it's a pretty demanding job. For most people.

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) is mightily impressed that Donald Trump prevailed against 17 fellow Republicans. To me, the fact that Trump ran against 17 Republicans and won doesn't tell me he's smart and talented. It tells me about the degraded and deplorable state of the Republican Party. The fact that he won against Clinton tells me about the headwinds that Clinton was battling, from media bias to foreign interference to a last-minute FBI intervention. And no, I'm still not convinced that there needs to be an investigation of the Steele dossier.

Wow! Having finally gotten around to watching the whole Stephen Miller trainwreck of an interview with Jake Tapper, I can easily see Stephen speaking at a basement meeting of fellow Brownshirts and waxing poetic about "Our Glorious Fuhrer."

Senate bill to reverse Trump Administration Net Neutrality decision gains 30th co-sponsor.

I was under the impression that the proposed move of the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem had blown any deal between Israel and the Palestinians to bits, but the news that Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner has extensive financial ties to Israeli banks and financial institutions should make any deal out of the question. 

So how's the big infrastructure plan going? Any ideas on how to both cut $1.5 trillion out of the budget in tax breaks for the wealthy and pony up $200 billion for infrastructure? Nah, of course not. 

Oprah Winfrey gives a really good speech at the Goden Globes Awards.

In response to the President's "Fake News Awards" being postponed

Translation: I'm incapable of managing even made-up imaginary bullshit that I designed entirely to make myself feel better. Even THAT was too much work for me. This is like a child delaying the opening of a fucking pretend tea party.

Schooling under President Trump. Classrooms in Baltimore are at 40 degrees. Not that he's to blame specifically, the problem goes back to "white flight," but I'll betcha he doesn't find time to address the problem in his twitter rants this morning or any other morning.

AT&T and Comcast not only got a big tax cut, they got the end of Net Neutrality. How have they rewarded the American people for the generosity of the Republican Party? "Companies that announced big bonuses after GOP tax cut are now laying off their workers"

Gotta love the headline here!
"Trump Insists He's A 'Very Stable Genius' In Unhinged Twitter Rant"
Um..."the Fake News Mainstream Media, are taking out the old Ronald Reagan playbook and screaming mental stability and intelligence....."
Yeah, erm, Reagan had Alzheimer's and we saw signs of that in response to Iran-Contra.

Kinda depressing that the "War on Pot" seems to be about the only thing Rs & Ds agree on these days, but yes, the news on that is good. Neithe party has any use for Attorney General Sessions' "War." 

No, I disagree with the Fox News "comedian" Greg Gutfeld. I don't think the Wolff "Fire & Fury" book humanizes President Trump, that any amateur would produce the same horrific results that he has. Trump's style is to tear people apart and to divide them and to have everybody at each other's throats. He's not just "everybody's uncle."

President demonstrates his confidence that the Wolff book is "Fake News" by runnning away from reporters who try to ask questions about it.

It's good to see the phrase "open secret" redefined as "Well, why didn't you do anything about it?" As the Hollywood Reporter observes "they all—100 percent—came to believe [President Trump] was incapable of functioning in his job." So the real and important question the book raises is "Why has the Republican Party failed to act?"

The Obama Administration started easing marijuana regulations back in 2013. If having pot legalized was causing any problems, there has been plenty of time for anti-pot partisans to gather those facts and the current AG has had a year to present them. Attorney General Sessions clearly doesn't have any such facts, else he'd have presented them. Public opinion agrees with the last President, so it's pretty obvious that Sessions is reversing the last administration's pot policy purely and entirely due to his own personal belief.

Heh! Those who supported the Confederacy both during and after its existence used "State's Rights" as a major justification, so it's sweetly delicious to see pro-pot Republican senators use state's rights against AG Sessions here.

How did marijuana become illegal in the first place? An explainer.

*Sigh* Again with that marvelous, subtle diplomacy. The US gives Israel $3 billion a year in aid. Palestinians get $400 million. President Trump is threatening to withhold the aid to the Palestinians unless they start negotiating with Israel. Uh yeah, Sure. that's going to work! [/snark]

Further commentatry on "Fire & Fury."

Wolff book on how top aides regard Trump: “For Steve Mnuchin and Reince Priebus, he was an ‘idiot.’ For Gary Cohn, he was ‘dumb as shit.’ For H.R. McMaster he was a ‘dope.’ The list went on.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says: “The president and the people of this country should be concerned about the mental fitness of the leader of North Korea.” Well, we are. but that doesn't mean we're prepared to overlook our President's mental health and fitness for office! 

Excellent! A more ridiculous waste of time, money and resources was hard to imagine. The commission accomplished nothing except to drive home the point that in-person voter fraud (the kind that could be battled with people having ID cards) was a non-problem.

One thing struck me in this piece (Excerpt of "Fire & Fury" by Michael Wolff). Rupert Murdoch had sagely warned that Trump's opportunity to make a real impression was going to be very short-lived. He had to make an impact within the first 100 days. Problem was, no one on the Trump team thought they were going to win the presidency, so no one had prepared any sort of agenda. Steve Bannon wanted to undertake a "shock and awe" approach, but his re-design of the immigration system called for the involvement of so few people and such limited advice and buy-in that it was a complete cluster-&%$@. Instead of "crushing the liberals," it energized us far more than it depressed us.

Yeah, mission accomplished. No questions about money laundering or Fusion GPS. But yeah, I very strongly disagree that Obama just sat around, refusing to deal with either North Korea or Iran. In both cases, he took the best approach that would yield best results. We need his kind of leadership back!

Kind of interesting as you consider that Laura Ingraham is speaking from the same movement that cried and wailed and beat their chests about "Sharia Law" being imposed on us poor, innocent Americans. But by suggesting that actresses wear more modest clothing in order to then be taken seriously as people who oppose sexual harassment, isn't Sharia Law what Ingraham is recommending here? And no, "staring" does not equal "harassment."

I agree with the blogger here (NSFW language) The Iranians are demonstrating hate and discontent with their leadership, but the President has absolutely zero moral authority to stand with Iranian protesters. He never gave a crap about them and never will.

Working in the White House is a rough job under any president. The burn-out rate is high and has been for many decades. Add to that a temperamental, president who likes a workplace in chaos and where there isn't much prestige in serving there. Add to that the publicity over the fate of Sean Spicer, who lied so much that no one will hire him and you've got a recipe for a very thin, stressed-out, overworked staff.

(I live in Horsham) The 2018 Horsham Town Council welcomed two new Democratic members, Bill Gallagher and Veronica Hill-Milbourne. Asked someone there when the Council last had any Democratic members. She thought it was sometime back in the 70s.

So, a bit over 100 days after Hurricane Maria, how's Puerto Rico doing? reports:
55% power consumption
*70% power generation
*97% of the island has water
*295,000 individuals have arrived in Florida from Puerto Rico, since October 3rd
*354 survivors are staying in 20 shelters that remain open

Presidetnt Trump takes credit for there being no deaths from commercial air travel in 2017. Erm, actually, the last such deaths were in 2009.

Ah, okay. I remembered upon reading about President Trump talking about health care associations "What? 'Millions' of people are joining these association? Really? I would have thought I would have heard of them by now." Well, it turns out that associations are not even real on paper. There have been a few small, private associations and they've had lots of waste, fraud and abuse problems. Congress hasn't even begun drafting any legislation for the kinds of national-scale associations that the President was referring to.

Four problems that President Trump claimed he was going to solve by now. Nope. Nowhere even close. They were 1. “'Everybody' was supposed to have health insurance." Number is actually down by 3 & 1/2 million.  2. "America was supposed to be 'respected again.'” Favoable view of US has crashed from 64% to 49%. 3. "The deficit was supposed to 'go away rapidly.'” The only piece of major legislation to get through increases the deficit by $1 trillion over 10 years.  4. "Trump was supposed to have quit Twitter.” Yeah, he should have done that more for his own sake than anyone else's . 

First NJ Governor Christie canceled a railway tunnel from New Jersey to New York's Manhattan, now President Trump cancels another proposed tunnel! There's only one tunnel that leads to Penn Station, the busiest transportation hub in the US. It's old and it's deteriorating.

President Trump gets BJ from NY Times: "where NYT argues that unlike 'aloof' Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Trump is a president of the people."
Keep in mind that popular support for Net Neutrality is over 80% and a Trump-appointed FCC just repealed Net Neutrality without making the slightest attempt to explain why. No, Trump is not a "president of the people!"
And discussing the truly idiotic NY Times piece that claims that "President Trump has brought a reality-show accessibility to a once-aloof presidency, invigorating voters who felt alienated by the establishment."

Hmm, does a Chinese action film mark a sea change in world affairs? Chinese action film where Chinese hero defeats the bad guy, a white American. American Embassy is useless. 

Cause for all Americans to feel deeply ashamed. The Electoral Integrity Project "has measured 213 elections in 153 countries and is widely agreed to be the most accurate method for evaluating how free and fair and democratic elections are across time and place." If North Carolina were a country, it would rank somewhere in the middle of democratic integrity in terms of how free and fair its election in 2016 was.

"After Years of Lies, a Federal Judge Brought a Swift End to the Hillary Clinton Benghazi BS"
Good! Hillary Clinton gave public testimony about Benghazi in late 2013. That was really the last notable, meaningful word on the case. Everything since then has been the opposition political party just trying to score points and to tear down Clinton's reputation.